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Oct 5, 2017; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians fan cheer during the first inning against the New York Yankees in game one of the 2017 ALDS at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Indians to Ditch Longtime Logo

After years of criticism, the Cleveland Indians are making a change to their uniforms. In 2019, the fighting braves of the Cuyahoga will take the field donning uniforms and hats without the “Chief Wahoo” logo.

Why the Change?

The Indians’ appearance in the 2016 World Series resulted in an influx of national criticism of the organization’s use of the logo. Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred even met with Indians owner Paul Dolan in late January 2017 to discuss the matter.

“Major League Baseball is committed to building a culture of diversity and inclusion throughout the game,” Manfred said in a statement released on Monday.

“We have consistently maintained that we are cognizant and sensitive to both sides of the discussion,” Dolan said. “While we recognize many of our fans have a longstanding attachment to Chief Wahoo, I’m ultimately in agreement with Commissioner Manfred’s desire to remove the logo from our uniforms in 2019.”

The Tribe will maintain Wahoo’s presence on its uniforms for the 2018 season. In addition, the club will maintain the Chief Wahoo trademark and retail rights. Cleveland will continue to sell items with the logo at Progressive Field also.

History of Chief Wahoo

The caricature has appeared in multiple variations since Wahoo’s first use in 1946. The logo’s first design was by 17-year-old Cleveland native Walter Goldbach, who passed away in late 2017.  The Tribe went on to win the 1948 World Series wearing Goldbach’s design.

Reactions

The decision over the logo was met with varying reactions ranging from a defense of Chief Wahoo to calls for it to be removed sooner rather than later.

In favor:

ESPN the Magazine Senior Writer Mina Kimes on Around The Horn on Monday:

“Saying that we’ve done it this way for a long time is not a good reason to keep doing something when there is inherent wrong involved in it,” Mike Golic Jr. said on ESPN Radio’s Golic and Wingo Tuesday morning. “We’ve finally, in 2018, looked up and realized the wrong in this…”

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson was in favor of the decision. He said in a statement that it was “wonderful news for the city.”

Against

Indians writer Paul Hoynes opposes the decision, but his argument against deals with the MLB Commissioner’s actions rather than politics.

Some have even gone as far to create social media accounts centered around maintaining Wahoo:

The “It Doesn’t Matter” Crowd 

Cleveland.com columnist Brent Larkin said in his latest piece that what matters more than Chief Wahoo is the Tribe’s play on the field.

 

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