When the 2019 MLB season gets underway, the Cleveland Indians will no longer be sporting their infamous Chief Wahoo logo that has been plastered on the team’s hats, uniforms, and merchandise since 1947.
Major League Baseball announced the team will be able to wear and sell merchandise with the logo on it for the 2018 season to maintain ownership of the trademark, but after that, it’s out. Over the past few years, the organization has begun to phase out Chief Wahoo by removing signs in and around the stadium and introducing a block “C” style logo.
The cartoon caricature portraying a red-face Native American has been under fire in recent decades by several social groups, but within the past few years, has really become a topic of concern with the commissioner of the MLB, Rob Manfred. Talks with Indian’s chairman and chief executive, Paul Dolan, had increasingly picked up this past MLB campaign in regards to the logo especially.
Rob Manfred released a statement saying, “Major League Baseball is committed to building a culture of diversity and inclusion throughout the game.” “Over the past year, we encouraged dialogue with the Indians organization about the club’s use of the Chief Wahoo logo.” “During our constructive conversations, Paul Dolan made clear that there are fans who have a long-standing attachment to the logo and its place in the history of the team.”
“Nonetheless, the club 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.”
It’s also been reported by ESPN that every year, in attempts to get the organization to get rid of Chief Wahoo and change the team’s name, Native Americans and supporters protest downtown at the stadium before every home opener. We’ve seen similar stories and efforts such as this throughout many other leagues and associations too. Teams such as the Atlanta Braves, Chicago Blackhawks, and most notified, Washington Redskins, have been protested and pressured to change logos and their team names as well. We’ll see which organization will be next to follow suit.