Cleveland Indians Change Logo for 2019 Season

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Last month, the Cleveland Indians stated that they will be changing the logo on their uniforms for their upcoming 2019 season.

Since 1948, the Cleveland Indians baseball team have worn the logo of Chief Wahoo, a native american caricature. In recent years, several organizations have pressed on universities and sports teams to change their logos and names, as they see them as culturally insensitive and outdated. Major League Baseball finally addressed the controversy, telling the Cleveland Indians that they had to change the logo due to it no longer being appropriate to wear on the field. The team’s fans, however, aren’t too enthusiastic about the change, saying that the Chief Wahoo logo is a “cherished insignia.” Paul Dolan, Cleveland’s chairman and chief executive, addressed fan backlash in a statement issued by Major League Baseball:

“While we recognize many of our fans have a longstanding attachment to Chief Wahoo,” he said, “I’m ultimately in agreement with Commissioner Manfred’s desire to remove the logo from our uniforms in 2019.”

Some universities, such as the university of North Dakota, have stopped using Native American symbols and names. Once known to the world as the Fighting Sioux, the University of North Dakota switched to being called the Fighting Hawks in 2015. Despite the university’s willingness to switch, several professional sports teams, like the Washington Redskins, have refused to change their names or logos.

The Cleveland Indians finally agreed to change their logo after Rob Manfred, the baseball commissioner, talked with Dolan. Manfred told New York Times reporters that the Indians organization “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.”

Phillip Yenyo, executive director of the American Indian Movement of Ohio, has stated that he sees this change as a step in the right direction, though he wishes the team would change the logo immediately instead of waiting for the 2019 season: “Why wait? If you are going to go this far and get rid of it, why not do it now? All they are doing is testing it out, because the name has to go, too. The nickname absolutely has to go. It’s not just the logo.”

Yenyo has also expressed his hope that other professional sports teams, specifically the Atlanta Braves, follow Cleveland’s example and change their names and logos.