“We care about people’s feelings, we’re respectful when anyone is offended, but we have this 80-year name that we love.” — Lanny Davis, Washington Redskins lawyer
In an unforeseen act of non-idiocy, the Cleveland Indians announced Jan. 29 that the team planned to finally abandon the Chief Wahoo logo on their uniforms by 2019. The logo, first developed in the late 1940s, depicts a Native American chief with red skin, huge teeth and nose and a large feather sticking up behind his head. With the logo serving as the Robert E. Lee statue of sports logos, the removal is a win for non-racists everywhere.
However, your On Fire correspondent is a bit shocked by the change. For the longest time, he/she anticipated that Cleveland management would address the predicament by altering the logo with maybe a less offensive shade of red. Perhaps even the Washington Redskins will finally respond to criticisms about their team name, perhaps to something like “D.C. Redskins.”
Some Cleveland baseball purists believe this is the first battle in a war towards changing the name to something other than the “Indians.” The audacity. It would be utterly unfair for the team change their name to something — dare your On Fire Correspondent say it — politically correct. Absolutely nothing is more American than using the national pastime as a platform to market stereotypical imagery associated with the people whose culture and very way of life it completely destroyed! I guarantee you that loyal subjects of ‘The Land” are more than ready to go to battle covered in war paint purchased from Hobby Lobby as they march to the beat of their tribe drum bought at Guitar Center.
Obviously, “Indians” captivates the culture of the the city; Native Americans comprise 0.3 percent of Cleveland’s demographic makeup. It’s about the equivalent of the Los Angeles Lakers bragging about all nine of the lakes that their storied NBA franchise glorifies.
While a total rebrand is far from happening, it can be hoped that Cleveland fans can swallow their loss of the Chief. Why not rally around the letter “C”? No one else in baseball is doing it.
All kidding aside, it is truly commendable that the Cleveland organization is taking a step towards progress in spite of backlash from some of its fans. Although it has not fully eradicated its race-based image, the organization is finally starting to become aware of its controversial mascot. In a city where pollution is so bad its river has caught on fire (no pun intended) 13 times, the removal of Chief Wahoo is a positive move towards cleaning up Cleveland’s image.