The Cleveland Indians and MLB announced last week that the 2018 season would be the last for Indians’ red-faced, grinning logo Chief Wahoo.
For decades, there have been clashes between Chief Wahoo protesters and “Keep the Chief-ers,” the fans who want to keep the chief in Cleveland. Every opening day there are people protesting the logo in front of Progressive Field.
As a Cleveland native, I understand where both sides of this argument are coming from, but the logo had to go. It’s 2018 — we can’t use racist caricatures as logos anymore.
It was embarrassing to watch the 2016 World Series and have to see fans in full Native American dress on national television. Is that really what we as Clevelanders want to show the country we are? When all eyes are on us, that’s what we want to be? Really?
I know we’ve grown up with Chief Wahoo; I, too, have a sentimental attachment to it, but my attachment is really to the team. To me, it doesn’t matter what the players are wearing on their heads.
The Indians will be my team no matter the logo, and frankly, I’m even more of a fan now that the team has finally made the right decision.
The logo is racist and needed to be removed, but why did it take so long? Is it enough to fix the problems the logo has caused? Does continuing to sell Chief Wahoo merchandise ruin the point of changing the logo? Was this decision only made so the team could host the All-Star game in 2019? If fans still wear the old logo, does it help anything? If I still wear the logo, am I complicit with the racism it represents?
These are all questions the team’s decision begs to ask, and I’m not entirely sure I’m qualified to answer, but I do know supporting the decision by the team is a good first step, even if there is more to be done. Pitchers and catchers report to spring training in one week. I’m excited for baseball to come back no matter what the team is wearing.
Personally, Chief Wahoo represents home and growing up and my love for baseball, but what I think of Chief Wahoo doesn’t really matter. The world has changed and a white kid from Cleveland doesn’t get to decide if a baseball team’s logo is racist or not just because he’s sentimentally attached to it. Who am I to decide what offends others? And if they are offended, I don’t have the right to say their feelings don’t matter.
So there’s one more season of Indians baseball with Chief Wahoo — my admittedly very high expectations for the team this year aren’t connected to the logo at all — and I hope the rest of the team’s fans can get past losing their beloved caricature.
The Indians are a young, fun team to watch. They play good baseball, and for the first time since the 1990s, they’re competitive. Indians fans can’t let this decision by the team ruin what might be the team’s first World Series win since 1948 just because they’re mad about a logo.
Chief Wahoo has been part of the team since 1928. When the team won its last championship 70 years ago, Chief Wahoo was there. However, maybe we should leave the logo in the past. It clearly hasn’t won us anything. Maybe changing the logo officially will also change our luck.
It might be weird not having Chief Wahoo represented at Indians games, but that won’t change my love for the team or the way the team plays. Chief Wahoo is from a different time, so maybe it’s time the Indians logo moves past it, too.