By Ken Reed
This will be the last year for Chief Wahoo, the long-time logo/mascot of MLB’s Cleveland Indians.
Beginning in 2019, Cleveland players will no longer wear the logo on their uniforms or hats. And Chief Wahoo won’t be part of the club’s promotional efforts moving forward.
The team’s primary logo in 2019 will be a block “C.” Nevertheless, Cleveland will retain its trademark and retail rights to the Chief Wahoo logo and it’s expected the logo will still appear on some merchandise in the club’s gift shops in 2019 and beyond. However, Major League Baseball (MLB) will not use the logo on merchandise in its stores.
Chief Wahoo — a cartoon Indian caricature with a red face, big nose and toothy smile — has drawn widespread criticism. It’s also been the subject of lawsuits from Native American groups who consider the logo a racially insensitive stereotype. Chief Wahoo currently is the only logo in American professional sports to depict a certain race. “People, Not Mascots” signs have been prevalent at demonstrations protesting the Chief Wahoo logo.
“Major League Baseball is committed to building a culture of diversity and inclusion throughout the game,” said Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred in a statement.
“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 it clear that there are fans who have a longstanding 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 acknowledgement that removing it from the on-field uniform by the start of the 2019 season is the right course.”
Dolan, Cleveland’s owner, acknowledged that it was a tough decision due to the history and tradition Chief Wahoo has with the franchise. He said a lot of fans have a strong attachment to the logo. But ultimately, he agreed that dropping it was the right thing to do.
“We have consistently maintained that we are cognizant and sensitive to both sides of the discussion. 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.”
Many baseball fans in general, and Indians fans in particular, have mixed feelings about Cleveland’s decision to drop Chief Wahoo.
That’s understandable. But in the end, it’s the decent thing to do.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
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Episode #26 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Fix Youth Sports? – John O’Sullivan is Founder and CEO of Changing the Game Project and author of “Changing the Game: The Parents Guide to Raising Happy, High Performing Athletes and Giving Youth Sports Back to Our Kids.” We discuss overzealous adults in youth sports, the dangers of sport specialization, youth sports entrepreneurs and the profit-at-all-costs mindset, and the growing socio-economic gap in youth sports.
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Episode #24 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Mental Health and Athletes: Ending the Stigma – Nathan Braaten and Taylor Ricci are the founders of Dam Worth It, a non-profit created to end the stigma around mental health at colleges and universities through sport, storytelling, and community creation.
Episode #23 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Olympian Benita Fitzgerald Mosley Talks Title IX, Youth Sports and the Olympics.
Episode #22 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Rethinking Sports Fandom with Author Craig Calcaterra – We discuss Calcaterra’s new book “Rethinking Fandom: How to Beat the Sports-Industrial Complex at Its Own Game” and explore new ways to be a fan.
Episode #21 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Chatting About a Broken Game With Baseball Writer Pedro Moura – Moura is a national baseball writer for Fox Sports. We discuss how and why the game of baseball is broken, what factors caused it, and offer a few thoughts on how to “fix” a great game.
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
- League of Fans Sports Policy Director Ken Reed quoted in Washington Post column titled "What happened to P.E.? It’s losing ground in our push for academic improvement," by Jay Mathews
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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