Get a load of this. In other popular sports, when teams persist in perpetuating offensive stereotypes, the league office does something about it.
According to David Waldstein of the New York Times, the Cleveland baseball team will stop using their grinning caricature Chief Wahoo logo in 2019, since the league office declared it no longer appropriate.
There have been protests over the use of the cartoon interpretation of a Native American for years, and the team has gradually stepped away from its daily use. But now, commissioner Rob Manfred has finally pressured Cleveland owner Paul Dolan to get rid of it for good.
Manfred said in a statement that the team “ultimately agreed with my position that the logo is no longer appropriate for on-field use in Major League Baseball, and I appreciate Mr. Dolan’s acknowledgment that removing it from the on-field uniform by the start of the 2019 season is the right course.”
“We have consistently maintained that we are cognizant and sensitive to both sides of the discussion,” Dolan said in a statement issued by the league. “While we recognize many of our fans have a longstanding attachment to Chief Wahoo, I’m ultimately in agreement with Commissioner Manfred’s desire to remove the logo from our uniforms in 2019.”
The team will continue to sell existing stock featuring the logo, but the league’s website won’t sell it any longer, and it won’t be featured on uniforms or the stadium.
Of course, a percentage of the team’s fans will rally behind the old logo, and Dolan going #bothsides in a statement that may or may not have involved his arm being twisted behind his back won’t do anything to deter that minority which insists on retaining its right to offend another minority.
Then again, obstinate defiance in the face of something that’s clearly offensive is nothing new. In other popular sports. Or so we’ve heard.