After what feels like an eternity of debates and “phasing out,” the Cleveland Indians are finally dropping Chief Wahoo for the 2019 season. As an Indians fan, I’ll admit that this is an emotional day. When I picture my childhood heroes like Vizquel and Thome and Lofton, they’re wearing a Wahoo hat, not a block “C.” Still, is it the right decision? Yes. Absolutely. Without a doubt. Far less offensive Native American logos and names were ditched years ago like North Dakota’s Fighting Sioux.
You’re telling me this…
…was dropped before this?
Don’t get me wrong. Both are offensive and both deserved and needed changed. But the fact that the Indians held onto the latter several years longer than North Dakota held onto the former is an embarrassment.
Cleveland has announced that it will no longer use Wahoo on their jerseys and hats and will no longer display him on banners and signs around the stadium. However, the team will still keep the trademark and will sell official team gear with the logo. They will also continue to use the nickname “Indians.” Is this doing too little? I say yes. Dropping Wahoo is a step, but if the team still sanctions sales of the logo and uses the nickname, are they really doing everything they can to distance themselves from the problem? Probably not. Dropping the name would be a tough sell, though, and I’m not sure ownership is ready for that battle. And as long as notorious shit stain Dan Snyder holds onto “Redskins,” it’s going to be even tougher.
Will some Tribe fans be upset about dropping Wahoo? Absolutely. If you haven’t noticed, Americans have a tough time letting the past go, especially when they feel like they’re being persecuted in the name of political correctness (see: 2016 United States Presidential Election). I can handle having some pissed off fans, especially because the 100-win 2018 Indians will win them all back. My real fear is that Trump’s crowd is going to latch onto this. I don’t think my heart could take it if Chief Wahoo became the logo of the Alt-Right Anti-PC movement, but I have a bad feeling that might be where we’re headed.
Ultimately, kudos to Cleveland for doing the right thing after all these years. Everything has to end, and this one is ending far too late, anyways. The logo is objectively offensive and objectively offensive things have no place as logos of professional sports teams (or anywhere for that matter). Still, that tiny, selfish part of my brain is always going to be a little sad, even I’m overall very happy with the decision. I have a feeling that’s where a lot of Tribe fans are today.