As Indians Diminish Chief Wahoo, Protestors’ War Whoops Grow Louder

Baseball: World Series Game 4. View of Cleveland Indians fans in stands holding sign with Chief Wahoo logo that reads ALIVE AND WELL during game vs Florida Marlins at Jacobs Field. Game 4. Cleveland, OH 10/22/1997 CREDIT: Heinz Kluetmeier (Photo by Heinz Kluetmeier /Sports Illustrated/Getty Images) (Set Number: X53812 )

The tribe has spoken. So has its chief.

Cleveland Indians fans purchased more Chief Wahoo-insignia caps than any other variation last season. Nevertheless, the team’s owner sticks with the bland block “C” as the team’s primary logo.

“We have gone to the Block C as our primary mark,” owner Paul Dolan told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “Clearly, we are using it more heavily than we are the Chief Wahoo logo.”

The Great White Father’s words worked as no consolation to Native American activists accustomed to broken promises. “We’re nobody’s mascot,” Philip Yenyo, American Indian Movement of Ohio’s executive director, told Fox 8 Cleveland.

He plans to protest the smiling logo by frowning outside of Progressive Field today as the Indians host the Boston Red Sox. Another Indian, albeit one of Elizabeth  Warren’s tribe, plans to beat that big war drum in the bleachers. To each his own Opening Day ritual.

“We do have empathy for those who take issue with it,” Dolan insisted to the Plain Dealer. “We have minimized the use of it and we’ll continue to do what we think is appropriate.”

But it’s not enough (it never is).

“This regressive problem has only one progressive solution: The Indians (and by extension, MLB) can no longer make money from Chief Wahoo,” explains Writes Like a Douche Bag, who goes by the name “Cory Collins” in his off-the-reservation job at the Sporting News. “Each day they do so is an insult. Not to political correctness, but to common decency. To the Native American history they have perverted for profit. To the Native American children harmed, psychologically, by such caricatures.”

Why stop the crusade there? Save the Irish children from the winking half-court Leprechaun at the TD Garden. Shield the Swedish youth in the Twin Cities from Ragnar. Force USC to end its microaggressions against the Spartans by portraying them as bellicose. The alternative remains all those weeping, psychologically-scarred Irish, Swedish, and Greek children — afraid of their own shadows and constantly wetting their pants — haunting us for refusing to stand up for their civil right to not be offended.

Alas, more pressing matters, like watching baseball (or even paint dry), keep normal people from lecturing sports fans on the morality of cheering on teams spurning anthropomorphic animal mascots for cartoonish human ones. Chief Wahoo maintains a healthy attitude about the controversy over his existence: smile and stare silently.


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