By: Chris Corso
Since 1946, Chief Wahoo has been the literal face of the Cleveland Indians franchise.
Celebrated by millions each year, Chief Wahoo is recognized by baseball fans everywhere as one of the oldest and most recognizable logos in sports. However, in 2011 the franchise officially changed its official cap insignia to the current block letter ‘C’ in an effort, many assume, to appease people over the controversial “racist” team names and logos argument.
Despite the backlash, many teams have refused to back down in their attempts to preserve the history of their team. However, according to the Washington Post article, “Cleveland Indians pull Chief Wahoo logo off baseball uniforms,” on Monday, Jan. 29th the Cleveland Indians announced that the team would be pulling the legendary Chief Wahoo logo from its’ uniforms after the 2018 season. Fans of all teams immediately took to social media blasting the franchise for caving in and removing a logo that has defined the team for decades.
This whole controversy raises the question; have Americans become too sensitive when it comes to these types of logos and team nicknames? As a society, how often do we actually use derogatory terms against Native American tribes? If anything, our country has turned away from talking about Native Americans in this way. This is what makes the outcry against team names and logos a confusing issue.
When many sports fans think of teams that have controversial names or logos, the thoughts associated are a sense of pride. Whether or not they are fans of the team, it can be argued that there is a common theme when it comes to thinking about these franchises and that theme is respect. At the end of the day, each and every team is a competitor; a competitor that doesn’t give up and who plays every game believing that they can win.
Think about it this way: when these sports teams were founded, does it seem more believable that a franchise would name a team after a group that they disrespected and thought of as inferior? Or would these owners name a team after a group that shows toughness and resilience. That’s the whole idea when comes to competing, right?
Overall, these nicknames and logos are not here to criticize or demean any group of people. They are here to stand as a tradition of excellence and a sign of toughness. It is a shame that in today’s world people often try to highlight the negative aspects of a situation rather than look for a more positive side.