Cleveland Indians should keep the Chief


Bree Gannon, Sports Editor

I went to my very first Indians game when I was around six years old. The stadium was still called ‘Jacob’s Field’, the hot dogs were $1 and the fireworks were beautiful. That day, my mom bought me my first Indians shirt. It was red with the word Indians written in blue cursive lettering with Chief Wahoo standing next to it. Everything about that day set the first stepping stone into my obsession with the Indians, and when I say obsession, it is an obsession.

So you can imagine my frustration as thoughts/feelings when I got the At Bat news update on my phone that the club announced they were removing him from their uniforms starting in the 2019 season.

Before I get into why it frustrated me, let me first say that I understand why it was removed but my question is, where do we draw the line?

Taking away Chief Wahoo does not take away from the fact that the team will still be called the Cleveland Indians, which can also be looked at as offensive and racist.

On the other hand, if you are going to start poking at the Indians, why not poke at other offensive teams like the Washington Redskins. Their team name and logo are both looked at as offensive as well. The name itself is a slang word for describing a Native American in a negative manor. Their logo is of a simplified, or common perception, of a Native American Indian head inside a yellow circle with two feathers tucked into it. Take that logo and compare it to the picture of Chief Wahoo. The original Chief logo, that was the image of the team from 1947-1950, was that of a yellow headed Indian with a prominent nose, a small pony tail and a feather. The idea behind the drawing is to encourage joy and enthusiasm with the smiling face and colors. Today’s current Chief, that was recreated in 1951, is an all red face with a feather. Which logo seems more offensive? In that question you might say both because one is depicted to look like an actual Native American and the other a redskin. I personally am more angry about the old Chief logo and the Redskins logo, compared to the current Chief.

The idea of having Chief Wahoo on uniforms and hats has been around since the late 1950s and stuck ever since then. The Chief is the face of the team and the first thing that fans notice and remember. The idea of taking away something, that I personally grew up on, is heartbreaking. I understand it but again I raise the question, where does the line get drawn?

If the Chief is in question, then I would like to see the Redskins and the Atlanta Braves also be in question. The Redskins have been in hot water but nothing is being done in attempts to move forward with removing it. To go even further, the Notre-Dame Fighting Irish and the Boston Celtics. If the use of an Indian is grounds for a controversy, then why isn’t the use of an Irish man or a leprechaun controversy? It is the same thought, right? It is a judgment against a race of peoples.

My frustrations toward this situation strictly comes from the basis of he has been around for over 50 years. Yes it might have been controversial this whole time but it does not help that in 2018, politics and race are becoming more and more big hot button issues. The idea of bringing politics into sports, which is already in my mind not necessary, is just another thing that people have to complain about.

Again, I understand why people think it is racist and why it is an issue but on the other hand when will it stop. I see the issue of having a team called the Indians and having fans that dress up in face paint and headdresses. That part to me is offensive. Whether it has anything to do with racism or the fact that the Cleveland Indians are hosting the 2019 All-Star game, either one, is beyond me.

As you have gathered, I do not agree and I am allowed to have those feelings as a lifelong fan.

I have had people say that I am not a fan because I do not support this move.

Me supporting the logo removal or not, does not make me any less of a fan that I already was. Logo or not, it is still the same Cleveland team that I have grown to love and become obsessed with.

And whether Chief Wahoo is on the uniforms or not, I will still wear my jerseys and hats with him on it to all games I attend.

Go Tribe!