Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Ohio state senator urges Cleveland Indians to change team name, mascot

Ohio state senator Eric Kearney introduced legislation Wednesday urging the Cleveland Indians to change the team’s name and mascot…

Kearney, a democrat from North Avondale, introduced the legislation while the Indians are playing a series against the Cincinnati Reds, who play near Kearney’s district.

In the resolution, Kearney urges the team to change the name and remove Chief Wahoo, the team’s mascot:

  “A team named the Indians, or one that carries a mascot of a stereotypical Native American caricature, such as Chief Wahoo, is an affront to Native Americans and…An evolving sense of decency and respect demand that the Cleveland Indians change their nickname and mascot.”

The Ohio General Assembly is on summer break.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 07, 2014 at 05:35 PM | 37 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: indians, legislation, mascots, native americans, ohio, politics

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. RMc is a fine piece of cheese Posted: August 08, 2014 at 07:24 AM (#4766901)
No. Next?
   2. Dan Lee is some pumkins Posted: August 08, 2014 at 07:50 AM (#4766914)
"Elected official from Cincinnati says Indians should change name, mascot"
   3. Joey B. Posted: August 08, 2014 at 08:04 AM (#4766917)
Whoa, the team name also? Is the whackadoodle far left now going to take the position that "Indians" is just as offensive as "Redskins"?
   4. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 08, 2014 at 08:55 AM (#4766930)

Whoa, the team name also? Is the whackadoodle far left now going to take the position that "Indians" is just as offensive as "Redskins"?


Oscar: OK, Michael, um... Both my parents were born in Mexico.
Michael: Oh, yeah...
Oscar: And, uh, they moved to the United Sates a year before I was born. So I grew up in the United States.
Michael: Wow.
Oscar: My parents were Mexican.
Michael: Wow. That is... That is a great story. That's the American Dream right there, right?
Oscar: Thank... Yeah...
Michael: Um, let me ask you, is there a term besides Mexican that you prefer? Something less offensive?
Oscar: Mexican isn't offensive.
Michael: Well, it has certain connotations.
Oscar: Like what?
Michael: Like... I don't... I don't know.
   5. JE (Jason) Posted: August 08, 2014 at 09:02 AM (#4766938)
Kearney, a democrat from North Avondale

For the record, I would hope everyone in the Ohio legislature is a lower-case "d" democrat.
   6. Random Transaction Generator Posted: August 08, 2014 at 09:10 AM (#4766942)
Is the whackadoodle far left now going to take the position that "Indians" is just as offensive as "Redskins"?


I can't figure out if you're really that ignorant, or just putting on an act so you can take a pitiful shot at the "left".
   7. Steve Sparks Flying Everywhere Posted: August 08, 2014 at 09:10 AM (#4766943)
Whoa, the team name also? Is the whackadoodle far left now going to take the position that "Indians" is just as offensive as "Redskins"?


As a Native American, I'd say "Indians" is less offensive than "Red****". Chief Wahoo on the other hand falls in the same category as "Red****". The problem with using "Indians" as a team name is that it provides a lot of opportunities to be culturally insensitive. Whether it's people wearing headdresses or drumming or whatever stereotype of Native Americans people bring to the ballpark.
   8. Joey B. Posted: August 08, 2014 at 10:06 AM (#4766993)
I can't figure out if you're really that ignorant, or just putting on an act so you can take a pitiful shot at the "left".

So in other words, the answer is "yes". You guys seriously have lost your ****ing minds.
   9. Bitter Mouse Posted: August 08, 2014 at 10:10 AM (#4766997)
So in other words, the answer is "yes". I really am that ignorant.


I fixed that for you.

And for the record you all should take this to the OTP thread if you are going to be all O .. T .. and P.
   10. Adward Posted: August 08, 2014 at 10:42 AM (#4767021)
At dinner it was noted that we had an equal number of Mikisew and Indians(Republic of) in our party. A distinction was demanded and by rigorous scientific coincidence it could be ascertained by one's support of the Eskimos. This separated native (North)Westerners from those who attended school in the East and developed rooting interests there. An objection was raised by a Barbadian in the group who felt this created confusion around his previous residence in the West Indies. Finally, it was brought up that although fellow Indians by law, any eponymous Eskimos vicariously cheered on aren't actually Indians or First Nations, but instead companion First Peoples. This made perfect sense to everyone. Discussion then turned to shared dismay that the Rough Riders would not be joining the Roughriders in the league, instead to be replaced by the Redblacks.
   11. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: August 08, 2014 at 10:53 AM (#4767027)
I like the name. It honors those that we tried to genocide. I'll probably dance around in a headdress, in their honor.

   12. Random Transaction Generator Posted: August 08, 2014 at 11:08 AM (#4767037)
Is the whackadoodle far left now going to take the position that "Indians" is just as offensive as "Redskins"?


I didn't notice this before, but it's not that it is "as offensive as", but simply "offensive" on its own.

For example, you and Dick Morris are clueless blowhards, but I wouldn't say that you are "as clueless as" Dick Morris, simply "clueless" on your own.
   13. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: August 08, 2014 at 11:14 AM (#4767039)
The logo is pretty indefensible though I'm neutral on the "Indians" moniker It's nowhere near as racist as "Redskins" but I feel if you're going to take on that kind of name as a nickname, it's imperative to be respectful. Really, though, all of these nicknames are relics of a time in our history we're now working to get past. They're all kind of embarrassing reminders and makes me think of Louis CK's bit about reading Tom Sawyer to his kids and having to explain why every other word Huck Finn says is, well, you know, but at the same time not wanting to pretend that history isn't there. So, like everything else in this black pit of doom we call life, it's all very complicated.
   14. DCA Posted: August 08, 2014 at 11:38 AM (#4767062)
I just don't see the point of naming a team after an ethnic group. Rah, rah, go people!

The easiest conversion would be to call out an occupation that represents specifically the trait one is implicitly ascribing to the whole population (e.g. Warriors, Braves, Chiefs would more clearly represent battle prowess and nobility).

I (can't speak for others) have no issue with Warriors, Braves, or Chiefs -- viewing them as no different than Pirates, Vikings, Kings, or any other occupation-based nickname.
   15. TDF, situational idiot Posted: August 08, 2014 at 12:00 PM (#4767092)
The easiest conversion would be to call out an occupation that represents specifically the trait one is implicitly ascribing to the whole population (e.g. Warriors, Braves, Chiefs would more clearly represent battle prowess and nobility).

I (can't speak for others) have no issue with Warriors, Braves, or Chiefs -- viewing them as no different than Pirates, Vikings, Kings, or any other occupation-based nickname.
First, as you say, you can't speak for others. You don't get to decide what's offensive to a group you don't belong to.

But specifically - "warrior", "brave", and "chief" are labels that seem to promote a stereotype of a certain ethnic group, while "pirate" and "king" don't (and kings haven't entered battle for centuries, so there's that). And "viking" is a Scandinavian term that describes exactly what the Vikings were doing, as opposed to a term someone else gave them to show how mean they were.

Were there Native Americans who fought against white men? Sure, but they weren't the majority of NAs; most went about their lives as they previously had (again, as opposed to pirates, vikings, and (by proxy) kings). Besides, remember who picked the fight and who was defending their land.
   16. BDC Posted: August 08, 2014 at 12:00 PM (#4767093)
I'm still fixing to post my impressions of the Cleveland ballpark some day, but I'll separate out the brand-related items here. Chief Wahoo is everywhere at the Cleveland park; he's pretty integral to the brand. And that's a disappointment to me, and something of a damper on the experience. The official Chief is bad enough, but (Anglo) fans in Cleveland also wear Keep the Chief shirts and versions of Wahoo that are even more leeringly cartoonish than the standard one. I didn't like it.

One other element of Indians games is a drumming that the fans start up in rally situations. It's monotonous and somewhat low-key, somebody's idea of what Indian drumming sounds like, which actual drums (very nuanced and sensitive instruments) don't. I dunno. It's a peculiar phenomenon. There is no intent to insult. The logo and the drumming actually try to appropriate some caricatured elements that Anglos suppose they admire about Indians, and identify with strength and courage and such. But it's an appropriation all the same.
   17. Bitter Mouse Posted: August 08, 2014 at 12:10 PM (#4767104)
most went about their lives as they previously had (again, as opposed to pirates, vikings, and (by proxy) kings).


Well technically most of them died in the epidemic of plagues that swept across the New World and basically destroyed or fatally weakened all of the existing civilizations long before many natives had a chance to meet with or fight the Europeans. Sure the Europeans would still have likely conquered most of the territory anyway, but still.
   18. Dan Lee is some pumkins Posted: August 08, 2014 at 12:11 PM (#4767107)
One other element of Indians games is a drumming that the fans start up in rally situations.
I don't know if it's because I've been an Indians fan for almost 40 years now, or if it's that I've been a soccer fan nearly as long, but the drumming doesn't particularly bother me.

I absolutely hate the Chief Wahoo logo, don't have a huge problem with the name in and of itself, and am *extremely* uncomfortable with people wearing stereotypical clothing of Native Americans - headdresses, face paint, that sort of thing.

But the drumming - I dunno, that's just sort of what people do at sporting events I attend. Certainly if it's intended as a "war drum" or something, that's not a thing I love. I've just not given it a ton of thought.
   19. zack Posted: August 08, 2014 at 12:22 PM (#4767117)
This thread has recovered well from hurtling down the path to shitshow.

They should change the name because the logo is indefensible, and they'll be able to sell a new brand a lot easier than a new logo. It's the teens for chrissakes. I'm a Blackhakws fan who loves the Blackhawks' logo and yeah, that should go to, the challenge is not replacing it with garbage so I'm ok if it takes a few years.
   20. Random Transaction Generator Posted: August 08, 2014 at 12:30 PM (#4767126)
The Blackhawks team name should stay (it's the army unit that it is named after, which is spelled differently than the actual Native chief, Black Hawk), but the Indian-head logo should be changed.
   21. Greg K Posted: August 08, 2014 at 12:47 PM (#4767137)
At dinner it was noted that we had an equal number of Mikisew and Indians(Republic of) in our party. A distinction was demanded and by rigorous scientific coincidence it could be ascertained by one's support of the Eskimos. This separated native (North)Westerners from those who attended school in the East and developed rooting interests there. An objection was raised by a Barbadian in the group who felt this created confusion around his previous residence in the West Indies. Finally, it was brought up that although fellow Indians by law, any eponymous Eskimos vicariously cheered on aren't actually Indians or First Nations, but instead companion First Peoples. This made perfect sense to everyone. Discussion then turned to shared dismay that the Rough Riders would not be joining the Roughriders in the league, instead to be replaced by the Redblacks.

I've actually often wondered that about the Eskimos. Aside from the name they seem to make any effort (either through logos or mascots) to identify that way.

Their mascots appear to be an angry looking football or a wild cat of some kind.

It seems like most other teams (Braves, Indians, Redskins, Blackhawks, Seminoles, etc.) use symbols, logos, or mascots to connect them to their First Nation "roots". This seems entirely absent in the Eskimos. Did it used to be so but they abandoned it? Going back to the 80s I don't ever recall them having "Eskimo" mascots.

Though upon researching I see the cat is called Nanook, and his life story (more on that later) is clearly based on him being an aboriginal from the Arctic. The Eskimo official site provides this useful background information on both of them (the football's name is "Punter"). Unfortunately I can't seem to find out what kind of animal Nanook is:

Punter was created in May of 2004 as result of a manufacturer's error at the Wilson football factory in Ohio. The workers skipped a decimal point and a giant football was created! Punter knew he was different than all the other footballs and felt like he didn't belong at the factory. He searched and searched for sports teams all over the world and one day came across the legendary Edmonton Eskimos. Once he saw a photo of Commonwealth Stadium - the biggest and best stadium in the CFL - he knew he had found his calling! Punter immediately signed on with the team and met Nanook, who taught him the "Eskimo Way." His excitement and enthusiasm fit right in with the Green and Gold.

Nanook was born in Northern Canada, somewhere in the Arctic Circle. In his youth, Nanook grew tired of his quiet, lonely, icy home - he knew he was destined for bigger and better things. One winter day, Nanook left his sleuth and began on a journey that would eventually lead him to Edmonton. Traveling south, Nanook passed through town after town, finding that the Northern Albertans were especially friendly, even offering the bear some food to eat or a cave to spend the night. One fateful afternoon, Nanook came upon a sign that read "City of Champions." It was the capital of Alberta! Nanook felt instantly that this was his home. As he roamed the streets of Edmonton, it suddenly grew dark and cold - a blizzard was coming! He found shelter in the biggest, strongest looking building he could find - Commonwealth Stadium. He snuck his way into a warm dark room, where above the door was the phrase: "Once an Eskimo, Always an Eskimo." In the spring, Nanook was awoken from his hibernation by the Eskimos training staff who had come to get the locker room and equipment ready for training camp. They took him under their wings and welcomed the bear as their new mascot - and even had the fans select his name!

And in conclusion we confirm that I have no idea how to identify animals...he is clearly a polar bear.
   22. Bourbon Samurai Posted: August 08, 2014 at 12:54 PM (#4767145)
Fox should buy them and change the mascot to Apu.
   23. OsunaSakata Posted: August 08, 2014 at 01:11 PM (#4767159)
The primary logo is now the block C, not Chief Wahoo. Some fans have taken to de-chiefing: http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/10715887/uni-watch-some-fans-removing-chief-wahoo-logos-protest

As far as the Indians name being offensive, I can't speak to what the mood will be in the future. Sixty years ago it was okay to fire men for being homosexuals and it was okay to impose a 91% marginal tax rate on the highest income.

Braves, Chiefs and Warriors can always be re-purposed to military meanings. Blackhawks can actually be a black bird. Tribe could also stay if not tied to symbols of an ethnic group.
   24. Dan Lee is some pumkins Posted: August 08, 2014 at 01:12 PM (#4767161)
Did it used to be so but they abandoned it? Going back to the 80s I don't ever recall them having "Eskimo" mascots.
I can't speak to guys in costumes roaming the stadium, but Edmonton has used the interlocking "EE" logo for ~50 years, before which they just had gold helmets. I've never seen any evidence that they had any kind of caricature logo.

The NFL's Duluth Eskimos (1926-27) used an igloo as their logo, which is not great but considerably better than a cartoon of a person.
   25. cmd600 Posted: August 08, 2014 at 01:25 PM (#4767177)
The logo and the drumming actually try to appropriate some caricatured elements that Anglos suppose they admire about Indians


I'm pretty sure the logo is not anything admired about Indians, but the drum has no connection - though I understand where that idea comes from - in fact, one of the old announcers used to call it Big Chief Boom-Boom, you know, just in case you had any doubts about Cleveland's cultural sensitivity. The guy who beats the drum at Indians game used to do so for his high school's games (with non-Indian mascots) and just kept it going after he graduated at Indians games. It's not related to anything American Indian at all.
   26. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: August 08, 2014 at 01:26 PM (#4767178)
Fox should buy them and change the mascot to Apu.


Probably my favorite "Simpsons" exchange:

Homer: "Are you sure you don't want to come? It's a Civil War reenactment, we need lots of Indians to shoot."
Apu: "I don't know which part of that sentence to correct first."
   27. Walt Davis Posted: August 08, 2014 at 06:59 PM (#4767510)
The only argument for keeping the Indians nickname is that it means there's no chance they'll choose one of those stupid singular nicknames like The Cleveland Courage.
   28. Jim (jimmuscomp) Posted: August 08, 2014 at 11:35 PM (#4767606)
Bakersfield - where I live - has minor league hockey. The first team we had was named the Bakersfield Fog. I swear to God. The mascot was as terrible as you could imagine a FOG mascot could be. Unreal.

And growing up we had the Bakersfield Dodgers where I saw Piazza, Karros and other play (even a John Tudor rehab assignment). Now they are a Rays affiliate named the Bakersfield Blaze. It's 102 here today. So, yeah.

Anyway, back to the discussion of NA offensive names.
   29. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: August 09, 2014 at 12:31 AM (#4767616)
The only argument for keeping the Indians nickname is that it means there's no chance they'll choose one of those stupid singular nicknames like The Cleveland Courage.

The Cleveland Cuyahogas aka the Cleveland Fire
   30. Spahn Insane Posted: August 09, 2014 at 01:06 AM (#4767623)
I can't figure out if you're really that ignorant, or just putting on an act so you can take a pitiful shot at the "left".

Yes.
   31. starving to death with a full STEAGLES Posted: August 09, 2014 at 01:57 AM (#4767626)
The Blackhawks team name should stay (it's the army unit that it is named after, which is spelled differently than the actual Native chief, Black Hawk), but the Indian-head logo should be changed.
you could call them the chicago style. the logo could be a jar of mustard with a red X through it.
   32. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: August 09, 2014 at 07:06 AM (#4767636)
How about the Cleveland Chapmans? Never forget!
   33. BDC Posted: August 09, 2014 at 09:35 AM (#4767661)
minor league hockey. The first team we had was named the Bakersfield Fog

The last time I followed hockey intently was the 1975 Stanley Cup finals, when the Buffalo arena kept being shrouded by fog and they'd have to stop the game every ten minutes for ten minutes and direct the teams to skate around in circles to make the fog disperse. I don't know if that was a regular occurrence in Bakersfield :)
   34. zack Posted: August 09, 2014 at 01:18 PM (#4767717)
The last time I followed hockey intently was the 1975 Stanley Cup finals, when the Buffalo arena kept being shrouded by fog and they'd have to

And earlier in the game a bat was flying around the ice, so Jim Lorentz batted it out of the air with his stick, and Flyers player carried it off the ice. I'd love full video of that series, despite the Flyers win being part of / the start of a really awful decade of hockey.
The first team we had was named the Bakersfield Fog. I swear to God.

The Fog are now the much more reasonable Bakersfield Condors, who have a live condor as a mascot. A live condor who doesn't play by your rules.
   35. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: August 09, 2014 at 03:50 PM (#4767769)

And earlier in the game a bat was flying around the ice, so Jim Lorentz batted it out of the air with his stick, and Flyers player carried it off the ice.

Manu Ginobili would have knocked the bat out with his bare hands.
   36. Jim (jimmuscomp) Posted: August 09, 2014 at 04:16 PM (#4767776)
Yes Zack. Awesome night that was.
   37. tfbg9 Posted: August 09, 2014 at 04:33 PM (#4767782)
OK, so he's "Chief Wahoo". But he's only wearing one feather. They should call him "Brave Wahoo".

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
Guts
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogOT: NFL/NHL thread
(9160 - 9:20am, Dec 19)
Last: Pops Freshenmeyer

NewsblogAre Wil Myers' flaws fixable? | FOX Sports
(107 - 9:19am, Dec 19)
Last: vivaelpujols

NewsblogOT: Politics - December 2014: Baseball & Politics Collide in New Thriller
(4892 - 9:19am, Dec 19)
Last: snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster)

NewsblogOT: Monthly NBA Thread - December 2014
(710 - 9:17am, Dec 19)
Last: Commissioner Bud Black Beltre Hillman

NewsblogMax Scherzer not a realistic option, New York Yankees' Randy Levine says - ESPN New York
(9 - 9:09am, Dec 19)
Last: BDC

NewsblogThe 2015 HOF Ballot Collecting Gizmo!
(66 - 9:04am, Dec 19)
Last: flournoy

NewsblogThe 4 surprisingly quiet teams of the MLB offseason
(12 - 9:03am, Dec 19)
Last: Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site

NewsblogPadres Acquire Derek Norris – MLB Trade Rumors
(18 - 8:24am, Dec 19)
Last: PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth)

NewsblogOT: NBC.news: Valve isn’t making one gaming console, but multiple ‘Steam machines’
(1353 - 8:24am, Dec 19)
Last: Random Transaction Generator

NewsblogPrimer Dugout (and link of the day) 12-19-2014
(1 - 8:10am, Dec 19)
Last: Dan Lee is some pumkins

NewsblogJerry Crasnick on Twitter: "Jake Peavy has agreed on 2 yr deal with
(4 - 8:04am, Dec 19)
Last: Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site

NewsblogRoyals sign Kris Medlen to two-year deal - MLB Daily Dish
(26 - 3:58am, Dec 19)
Last: Harveys Wallbangers

NewsblogThe Dan Shaughnessy Hall Of Fame Ballot
(59 - 2:45am, Dec 19)
Last: Gonfalon Bubble

NewsblogSaint Pete City Council Tells Rays NYET!
(3 - 1:57am, Dec 19)
Last: Dale Sams

NewsblogPrimer Dugout (and link of the day) 12-18-2014
(42 - 9:34pm, Dec 18)
Last: Pops Freshenmeyer

Page rendered in 0.3261 seconds
48 querie(s) executed