Time for goodbye to Wahoo
One part of me — a diehard Cleveland Indians fan since 1966 — hates to say this, and I know a lot of you out there don’t want to hear it, but it is time for the franchise to stop using Chief Wahoo as a team logo.
Understand, I am not saying that everyone who has Chief Wahoo logos on their clothes or cars or hats should get rid of them. I have a sticker on my car and plenty of clothing with the Chief’s emblem on it. I did ask my wife a couple of years ago to try to find clothing that did not include the logo when she was shopping for birthday or Christmas presents, but I understand how important the symbol is for many Tribe fans.
I think it’s time, though, for the Cleveland American League baseball franchise — which basically means the Dolan family — to take that next step and announce that as of such and such a date, the team will no longer wear Chief Wahoo on its uniforms or sell the likeness in the team shop or other souvenir stands.
The club, in fact, should have been more out in front of this issue from the start. Yes, five or six years ago they tried using a cursive I on hats and other gear, and then more recently they have used the block C. That block C logo, and not Chief Wahoo, was included when The Associated Press sent out its 2017 MLB team logos this spring.
So the Indians’ brass deserves some credit, they seemed unwilling to take that final step, probably fearing the reaction of their fans.
But now, Major League Baseball seemingly has stepped into the issue, based on remarks at the start of the season by Commissioner Rob Manfred. Now it will look like the Indians are being forced into the move, and maybe that’s what ownership wanted.
Chief Wahoo does not look like a Native American in any way, shape or form, and it errs on the side of ridicule when it comes to not looking historically accurate. Take a peek at the Chicago Blackhawks’ logo. The team is named for the Blackhawk Indian tribe and the logo is historically accurate.
And I know, many of you will say that Chief Wahoo is just a caricature, which to me means it’s a cartoon. Native Americans were not cartoons, they were people, just like you and I, who lived and prospered in their own way on this continent before European invaders forced them off their lands and/or killed them. If what happened to Native Americans had happened elsewhere on the globe, we would call it genocide.
The descendants of those people do not like seeing their culture ridiculed by a cartoon and have taken action, which they have every right to do. And the Indians, certainly, have options, to respond to the pressure from protesters and others calling for a change.
The Dolan family could tell those protesting Chief Wahoo that they don’t care about their concerns and they will continue to use the image on their uniforms.
That is always an option in so-called political correctness situations. If an institution or a politician, or another person of note is caught doing something negative — having an affair, using derogatory slurs against someone, using their power to force employees into negative situations, treating customers poorly, etc. — there understandably is a groundswell of pressure from someone or other. That pressure can mount through the traditional media and social media and eventually the person or institution has to make a decision.
They can tell those who are demanding an apology, or a politician’s resignation, or a change in company policy, etc., to forget it, there will be no apology forthcoming. If that option is chosen, it is likely the pressure will mount, but the person in question can continue to ignore it.
The other option is to make the apology, or resign the position, or do away with the logo, because they realize their position is wrong or because they don’t want to continue to face the pressure.
The Indians’ leadership is currently at that decision point, with the added fact that their superior, MLB, has joined the side of those exerting pressure.
Here’s hoping they take the appropriate action, and soon — stop using the Chief Wahoo logo.