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Tuesday, July 07, 2020

Braves could ditch ‘Tomahawk Chop,’ but won’t change name

The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports that the Braves are internally discussing whether or not to continue encouraging the use of the “Tomahawk Chop,” a rallying cry used by Braves fans at Truist Park. To do the “Tomahawk Chop,” fans imitate a Native American chant and wave a foam tomahawk or an empty hand back and forth. It is usually prompted by music played over the public address system.

MLB’s Braves and Indians, as well as the NFL’s Redskins and Chiefs and the NHL’s Blackhawks have received criticism in recent years for the use of Indian names and iconography. Last week, due to pressure from FedEx which holds the naming rights to their stadium, the Washington football team said it “will undergo a thorough review of the team’s name.” The Indians also released a statement, saying, “We are committed to engaging our community and appropriate stakeholders to determine the best path forward with regard to our team name.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 07, 2020 at 05:39 PM | 57 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: braves

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   1. Jeff Francoeur's OPS Posted: July 07, 2020 at 09:22 PM (#5961608)
Whatever. By all means, ditch the tomahawk chop, but as a lifelong Braves fan, they'll always be the Braves to me.
   2. Howie Menckel Posted: July 07, 2020 at 09:28 PM (#5961609)
as a lifelong Braves fan, they'll always be the Braves to me.

SEIZE HIM!
   3. Mayor Blomberg Posted: July 07, 2020 at 09:43 PM (#5961612)
The team can begin by informing fans that the chop is not acceptable and enforcing it. But, yes, good time to retire these names; Braves, certainly, given Georgia's history with the Cherokee.
   4. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 08, 2020 at 12:49 AM (#5961624)
The team can begin by informing fans that the chop is not acceptable and enforcing it.
Or, hell, maybe just not blasting the music after every goddamned pitch when the Braves have a runner on base.
   5. the virus could be killed by injecting 57i66135 Posted: July 08, 2020 at 03:07 AM (#5961628)
oh? oh, oh oh oh.
no. no, no no no.
   6. depletion Posted: July 08, 2020 at 03:07 AM (#5961629)
Given the Irish people's history with the Vikings, the Minnesota NFL team should definitely change their name as well. Isn't a "Brave" a good thing? Someone respected?
   7. BrianBrianson Posted: July 08, 2020 at 03:13 AM (#5961630)
But, yes, good time to retire these names; Braves, certainly, given Georgia's history with the Cherokee.


Or, ride it out now, and look good in ten years when you were the only one not trying to erase everyone and everything that wasn't white from popular culture.

   8. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: July 08, 2020 at 06:01 AM (#5961631)
The team can begin by informing fans that the chop is not acceptable and enforcing it.

"Ve haff VAYS of making you not do chop...!"

This is one of those things that it's worse to ceaselessly argue about than to actually experience.
   9. The Duke Posted: July 08, 2020 at 08:03 AM (#5961638)
The Braves have a number of ways of promoting the Chop. It has historically been featured in commercials, they hand out foam tomahawks all the time, and they have a “special guest”’doing the chop with a big tomahawk. They should just phase it out and let it die a natural death instead of saturating the stadium with it. And I don’t say this from a Native American perspective. It’s just an annoying theme. If they dialed it back to once or twice a game during a big rally I’d be fine with it
   10. Rally Posted: July 08, 2020 at 08:43 AM (#5961642)
Did the Braves do this in the Dale Murphy era? I honestly can't remember, even though since they were on TBS I watched a huge number of Braves games in the mid-1980s. I remember it being huge in the 1991 season. Was it novel at the time? Or maybe I just hadn't noticed the Braves when they were in last place the previous seasons.

That was 29 years ago, it's time to come up with a new gimmick. Similarly, Angels will need to find something new to inspire the team instead of 18-year old rally monkey reruns.
   11. flournoy Posted: July 08, 2020 at 09:06 AM (#5961645)
Did the Braves do this in the Dale Murphy era?


No. Deion Sanders started it in 1991 in homage to his FSU days.
   12. Rally Posted: July 08, 2020 at 10:13 AM (#5961652)
Thanks. I thought was new at the time, but appreciate the confirmation.
   13. PreservedFish Posted: July 08, 2020 at 10:29 AM (#5961657)
If they dialed it back to once or twice a game during a big rally I’d be fine with it


Games in Atlanta are practically unwatchable because of the chant. I don't understand how it hasn't already died a natural death - Braves fans, isn't it annoying to be prompted like 90 times per game to do the chop chant? I get that it must have been fun and exciting in the early 90s, but at this point the sound of the chant has literally the opposite associations for me. It stifles spontaneous cheer. It fills the listener with torpor. It renders the fans a brainless enervated moaning zombie hoard. It actually sucks the excitement out of a good game.
   14. SoSH U at work Posted: July 08, 2020 at 10:49 AM (#5961662)
Games in Atlanta are practically unwatchable because of the chant. I don't understand how it hasn't already died a natural death - Braves fans, isn't it annoying to be prompted like 90 times per game to do the chop chant? I get that it must have been fun and exciting in the early 90s, but at this point the sound of the chant has literally the opposite associations for me. It stifles spontaneous cheer. It fills the listener with torpor. It renders the fans a brainless enervated moaning zombie hoard. It actually sucks the excitement out of a good game.


It's the closest thing baseball has to the vuvuzela.

   15. Rally Posted: July 08, 2020 at 12:22 PM (#5961686)
100% agree with #13.

It was cool in 1991. But now more like a 50+ year old former child actor, still identifying with the role that once made him famous. Because he’s done absolutely nothing since then that would be interesting to anybody, and he pathetically can’t live without the limited attention it still brings.
   16. PreservedFish Posted: July 08, 2020 at 12:27 PM (#5961688)
If it was strictly limited to important moments then it could still be pretty cool. (I mean, apart from the dicey cultural appropriation thing.)
   17. CFBF's Overflowing Pathos Posted: July 08, 2020 at 12:45 PM (#5961697)
I still have intense, fond memories of becoming a Braves fan in 1991 when I was seven years old, watching those late-season and playoff games, bonding with my mother after her divorce, all triggered by the Tomahawk Chop, so I won't pretend there won't be a twinge of sadness when (not if, I'm confident) the Braves officially get rid of it. But there's really no defending it in the Year of Our Lord 2020.

I can see the Braves (and probably the Chiefs) fighting a rearguard action over the next few years before eventually just surrendering and changing the name. Start with ending the chop. Cut out the drumming in the stadium. Ban headdresses and similar apparel on fans. Change the logo to de-emphasize the tomahawk and accentuate the script "A." Everything up to a full name change, which they'll resist for a while before they stop resisting.
   18. Mayor Blomberg Posted: July 08, 2020 at 01:04 PM (#5961705)
Or, ride it out now, and look good in ten years when you were the only one not trying to erase everyone and everything that wasn't white from popular culture.


Call me when Georgia wants to confront its actual history with the Cherokee or Southerners want to stop the "It wasn't about slavery" bullshit. OK?

And what the #### does white people appropriating things vaguely Indian have to do with nonwhites in popular culture. That's by whites for whites.

   19. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: July 08, 2020 at 01:36 PM (#5961715)
Call me when Georgia wants to confront its actual history with the Cherokee or Southerners want to stop the "It wasn't about slavery" bullshit. OK?


Yep.
   20. depletion Posted: July 08, 2020 at 03:00 PM (#5961751)
The team was given their name in Boston, not Georgia. But people in the north bear no responsibility for the treatment of natives in the US.
   21. The Duke Posted: July 08, 2020 at 03:13 PM (#5961756)
Ka-Ching
   22. Mayor Blomberg Posted: July 08, 2020 at 04:18 PM (#5961767)
The team was given their name in Boston, not Georgia. But people in the north bear no responsibility for the treatment of natives in the US.


OK, deal, move them back to Boston and have them renamed if you want to be a butthurt ####### about it.

Cleveland, by the way, is in what part of the country? southwest? Jezus you peckerwoods ...
   23. manchestermets Posted: July 08, 2020 at 06:08 PM (#5961784)
I discovered this week that there's an English ruby club, the Exeter Chiefs who use, let's say unfortunate imagery and the Tomahawk Chop, here in England. Some fans of theirs have got up a petition asking them to stop.
   24. Mayor Blomberg Posted: July 08, 2020 at 07:28 PM (#5961803)
Isn't a "Brave" a good thing? Someone respected?


Braves – James Gaffney, who became president of Boston’s National League franchise in 1911, was a member of Tammany Hall, the Democratic Party machine that controlled New York City politics throughout the 19th century. The Tammany name was derived from Tammamend, a Delaware Valley Indian chief. The society adopted an Indian headdress as its emblem and its members became known as Braves. cf 1 and 2

An allusion to the original Tea Party would have played well in situ, but it doesn't travel. However, the idea of naming teams for corrupt organizations that shake down cities does have a certain truth-in-advertising appeal.
   25. PreservedFish Posted: July 08, 2020 at 08:15 PM (#5961814)
"Brave" is certainly a good thing in today's language. Maybe it wasn't so good when it was applied to Indian warriors of the 19th century. The wikipedia article states that "Indian braves were frequently demonised and dehumanised in contemporary accounts," which is easily believed, even if their courage was respected, as it likely was.

Unfortunately, despite repeatedly putting the full Oxford English Dictionary on my Christmas list, nobody's ever come through. The best I can do now is this random blog of a guy that apparently had access to the OED definition of brave, which notes this:

And the reason some called Native Americans braves didn’t have to do as much with any valor white traders or settlers observed: it's thanks to the French brave, which we should remember also connoted “savage.”


You don't need to be a philologist to know that the meaning of "courageous" was also present at the time - the Star-Spangled Banner was written in 1814.
This newspaper column gives similar information and settles on an 1819 explanation that the word denotes "courage with perhaps a lingering hint of the word's probably Latin origin," the Latin term in question being barbarus, meaning foreign.

Personally, I don't think the etymology really matters. As I stated in another political thread the other day, in 1999 I was one of the apparently few people that thought the word "niggardly" was highly inappropriate, despite its blameless etymology. Language changes, and etymology isn't a get out of jail free card for words that people take offense to. The etymology here is murky. It's possible that even if an average fellow of 1819 felt that there was a palpable connotation of savagery in the word when applied to the natives, that this connotation had disappeared by the time a Boston plutocrat grabbed at the word.

I do think it's entirely justified to feel uneasy about this kind of cultural appropriation. It's also not an obvious slur like "Redskin." I think I'd want to hear from some actual American Indians on how they take the name, although naturally they won't be unanimous.

The Tomahawk Chop though, oh boy, that one is a doozy.
   26. Mayor Blomberg Posted: July 08, 2020 at 09:01 PM (#5961819)
Nice work Fish!
   27. Omineca Greg Posted: July 08, 2020 at 09:05 PM (#5961820)
I've talked to numerous First Nations people about this general issue. Of course, there's no complete agreement, so take this as a series of observations I've gleaned from conversations

First off, here in the Omineca, Indian is a loaded term, I think much more so than in the States.

Despite that, First Nations baseball fans like the Cleveland Indians. They like wearing the Wahoo cap. Indigenous softball teams take the Wahoo image and use it on their team jerseys. Racist caricature? Well, he's goofy, but a lot of logos are. They don't feel singled out, they think, "Cool. An Indian. Like me." Not everybody of course, but I think there's more acceptance of it than you might think. I think there's truth to Brianson's observation in #7; people like to be remembered at all, and in an overriding culture that doesn't pay them much attention, having a team named the Indians or the Braves is a nice change up. Take those things away, and they're not going to be replaced with more correct First Nations imagery. They'll just be gone. The Canucks logo, I mean go to a BC rez and it is literally everywhere. Hockey country more than a baseball country, true, but the fact that a real honest to goodness sports team uses that imagery, it makes them even more popular than they would be otherwise. So I guess it could happen in baseball...

But it won't. And they know that. We have a proverb in our country, "Any lovin' is good lovin', so I took what I could get." Very old saying, nobody knows where it comes from...but I think that's what's happening. They haven't had the luxury of much representation in popular culture, so anything seems good.

Like Speedy Gonzales. If you're a little Mexican-American kid in the 50s, you might rather have him to watch than no Mexicans at all. The fact that it's in pretty bad taste might not be that important to you. I think it's like that.

But fans dressing up in Indian headdresses? Or the chop?

Believe me, I defy anybody to go to a reservation and do something like that. There might be a murder. I'm serious, it is so insulting, and so thoughtless and inconsiderate, things could turn violent. That fans would think it's fine, despite being told over and over that it's not, I don't know, it's not a particularly nuanced debate. It seems to me it's a bunch of white people just not giving a ####.
   28. BrianBrianson Posted: July 09, 2020 at 04:53 AM (#5961856)
Yeah, of course it depends on the details and how it's done. And the context. Going to a reserve and acting like that probably would read like you're trying to pick a fight - I'd guess it plays at least somewhat differently in a baseball stadium, but I probably won't have a chance to ask an actual First Nations dude or dudette until Christmas at the earliest. But this is overwhelmingly college educated white people telling college educated white people what's offensive.

Seeing Chief Wahoo on a reserve would probably make me do a double take, but yeah, the reserve I'm at the most, people really like the BlackHawks (which normally in southern Ontario would be taken as looking for a fight). Braves? The logo and name are ... maybe culturally appropriative, or history erasing, but certainly from a mindset that looks positively at the First Nations, so that wouldn't surprise me at all.

Though I suspect if Greg mostly knows First Nations people in the northern BC interior, the context is very different from me knowing mostly ones from southern Ontario.
   29. Howie Menckel Posted: July 09, 2020 at 12:59 PM (#5961888)
et tu, Indiana?

Tom Precious
@TomPreciousALB
·
6m
New NYS Senate bill #8708 today by @SenatorHarckham bans state funding to schools with mascots that are "derived from a specific race or ethnicity." Gives schools 3 yrs to get rid of such mascots; senator says "vital that we discontinue these racial and insensitive practices."
   30. Hank Gillette Posted: July 09, 2020 at 01:10 PM (#5961891)
The Braves have a number of ways of promoting the Chop. It has historically been featured in commercials, they hand out foam tomahawks all the time, and they have a “special guest”’ doing the chop with a big tomahawk.


I even saw Jane Fonda half-heartedly doing the chop during a televised game while she was married to Ted Turner. That might be the most embarrassing event in her life, except “Barbarella”, of course.
   31. SoSH U at work Posted: July 09, 2020 at 01:21 PM (#5961893)
et tu, Indiana?


Ah yes, home of the Irish, the only other ethnic group that is used as a team nickname, with the exception of all the others.

   32. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: July 09, 2020 at 01:30 PM (#5961895)
The Canucks logo


I think there is a vast difference between that and Chief Wahoo, though I am just one white dude, so take that for what it's worth.
   33. Adam Starblind Posted: July 09, 2020 at 02:58 PM (#5961908)
Like Speedy Gonzales. If you're a little Mexican-American kid in the 50s, you might rather have him to watch than no Mexicans at all. The fact that it's in pretty bad taste might not be that important to you. I think it's like that.


I was surprised and oddly happy to learn that Speedy Gonzales is actually beloved throughout Latin America.
   34. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: July 09, 2020 at 03:40 PM (#5961921)
Looking at college athletic programs in Indiana, Notre Dame are the only one who have a remotely ethnic name. (Unless Spartans and Trojans count, which they don't.)

New York's list has has the Iona Gaels, Alfred University Saxons, Union Dutchmen, Hudson Valley Vikings, Westchester Vikings, and Villa Maria Vikings. The Alfred Saxons is an awesome name and should be preserved. Other good names include the Pace Setters, NYU Violets, SUNY Maritime Privateers, Finger Lakes Lakers, and Sullivan County General Dunkers. They have teams with names like Caimans, Cannoneers, Statesmen, Herons, Lazers, Tribunes, and Kangaroos that make NY state college athletics look like an OOTP minor league.

   35. Adam Starblind Posted: July 09, 2020 at 03:49 PM (#5961924)
Tufts is the Jumbos, which--to cross pollinate from another thread--could be viewed as unkind to fat people like Joe West.
   36. Mayor Blomberg Posted: July 09, 2020 at 04:00 PM (#5961928)
Fernigal, St Johns were the Redmen. It likely began as a reference to the team's colors (cp. Syracuse Orangemen) but by the 60s the team had a mascot in some sort of "Native" regalia. The team name was changed in the mid-90s.
   37. Adam Starblind Posted: July 09, 2020 at 04:43 PM (#5961936)
Fernigal, St Johns were the Redmen. It likely began as a reference to the team's colors (cp. Syracuse Orangemen) but by the 60s the team had a mascot in some sort of "Native" regalia. The team name was changed in the mid-90s.


The Syracuse Orangemen will probably have the change their name after the election.
   38. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: July 09, 2020 at 04:54 PM (#5961940)
I've thought a bit about the UChicago Maroons in all of this. They're called Maroons because they wear maroon (which they chose in the 1890s because no other Midwestern school wore maroon, and because it hides grass stains well), but when I think of a group of people referred to as "Maroons" I don't think of UChicago's mighty football team, I think of escaped slaves in the West Indies. It's an accident and the school hasn't gone remotely near the Caribbean meaning of the word in its imagery, but I wonder if it's ever going to become an issue.
   39. PreservedFish Posted: July 09, 2020 at 04:59 PM (#5961943)
Orangemen? Maroons? They're naming teams after all the worst colors. Where are the Periwinkles or Plums?
   40. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 09, 2020 at 05:09 PM (#5961948)
True story: The town of Pekin, in downstate Illinois, was named because people thought it was opposite the globe from (then) Peking. Its high school teams were named the Chinks. Until 1981.
   41. Mayor Blomberg Posted: July 09, 2020 at 05:36 PM (#5961953)
SUNY Purchase was the Heliotrope and Puce. Shocked to see they've got teams now.

Maroons -- I'd assumed the Orangemen were a reference to the Dutch, which I guess would have been more likely closer to the Hudson.
   42. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: July 09, 2020 at 05:53 PM (#5961958)
True story: The town of Pekin, in downstate Illinois, was named because people thought it was opposite the globe from (then) Peking.
Lachine, part of Montreal, was named in the 17th century by sarcastic locals when La Salle returned there from down the St Lawrence after failing to find a route China, La Chine. No unfortunate mascots so far as I know.
   43. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: July 09, 2020 at 06:01 PM (#5961961)
Orangemen? Maroons? They're naming teams after all the worst colors. Where are the Periwinkles or Plums?
The aforementioned NYU Violets are named for the color of their jerseys rather than the flower. Their mascot is a bobcat, for some reason.

A couple of good Ohio names: the Heidelberg Student Princes and the Kenyon Lords and Ladies.
   44. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: July 09, 2020 at 06:11 PM (#5961963)
Just remembered that UNC-Pembroke is the Braves. Pembroke has always been the school for the Lumbee nation, and around Lumberton there are big billboards advertising the school with a Lumbee student and the text "Choose to be a Brave." So I assume that everyone there is OK with the name.
   45. SoSH U at work Posted: July 09, 2020 at 06:11 PM (#5961964)
A couple of good Ohio names: the Heidelberg Student Princes and the Kenyon Lords and Ladies.


Interesting that Student Princes applies to both men's and women's teams. I can't say I realized that was the women's team's nickname when my daughter and her fellow Yeowomen played them the past three seasons.
   46. PreservedFish Posted: July 09, 2020 at 06:50 PM (#5961973)
Does "Lords and Ladies" apply to both the boy and girl teams? Or is it "Lords" for one gender and "Ladies" for the other?
   47. Jarrod HypnerotomachiaPoliphili (TeddyF.Ballgame) Posted: July 09, 2020 at 07:18 PM (#5961978)
If I were in charge of team name permits, I'd allow the use of Braves. To me it refers to a category or role like Knights or Warriors, and promoted with the right kind of iconography, it celebrates a culture.

I wouldn't accept the name Indians or god forbid, the one used by the DC football franchise, as those make entire populations into mascots. Doesn't seem right to equate human beings with Wildcats or Bears or what have you, and it's clear that we wouldn't accept names like the Chicago Blacks or the San Francisco Asians. I wouldn't be particularly worried about names that refer to historical populations that no longer exist and aren't currently subject to potential oppression, but I can be consistent--change Vikings to Berserkers if you want.

That said, I think there's a good bit of truth to what Omineca Greg said above. All of this has more to do with the culture around the names than the names themselves. Here's an idea too little put into practice: if you want to use a name like Indians, how about asking some for their opinion AND involvement? The MiLB Spokane Indians started to do that about fifteen years ago and I haven't heard any complaints.
   48. Mayor Blomberg Posted: July 09, 2020 at 07:23 PM (#5961981)
I like the Spokane example and note this about "Indians"

“The team, the name, it’s not named for a vague group,” said Peone. “… This is the Spokane Indians, named specifically for our tribe. We’ve accepted that and have a very close working relationship, in a respectful way.”


Neither Cleveland nor Atlanta qualifies on that score.
   49. SoSH U at work Posted: July 09, 2020 at 07:23 PM (#5961982)
Or is it "Lords" for one gender and "Ladies" for the other?


Yes, the men's team are the Lords. The women's teams are the Ladies. They're the archrivals of the Yeomen and Yeowomen.
   50. Hysterical & Useless Posted: July 09, 2020 at 08:03 PM (#5961990)
the UChicago Maroons in all of this

Bugs Bunny's favorite team!
   51. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: July 09, 2020 at 08:24 PM (#5961993)
I was surprised and oddly happy to learn that Speedy Gonzales is actually beloved throughout Latin America.
His cousin Slowpoke was far more problematic.
   52. Howie Menckel Posted: July 09, 2020 at 10:31 PM (#5962018)
I wouldn't accept the name Indians or god forbid, the one used by the DC football franchise, as those make entire populations into mascots. Doesn't seem right to equate human beings with Wildcats or Bears or what have you, and it's clear that we wouldn't accept names like the Chicago Blacks or the San Francisco Asians.


and yet....
   53. PreservedFish Posted: July 09, 2020 at 10:38 PM (#5962021)
Yes, the men's team are the Lords. The women's teams are the Ladies. They're the archrivals of the Yeomen and Yeowomen.


Please tell me that the Lords and Ladies are from the wealthier neighborhood.
   54. SoSH U at work Posted: July 09, 2020 at 11:39 PM (#5962035)
Please tell me that the Lords and Ladies are from the wealthier neighborhood.


They are. But both schools are located in small, rural towns, and are below the state's median income.
   55. Mayor Blomberg Posted: July 10, 2020 at 12:48 AM (#5962046)
While we're on team names,

Lady Huskies or Husky Women? I thought the answer obvious, but a colleague (female, feminist) insisted Husky Women was proper.
   56. SoSH U at work Posted: July 10, 2020 at 01:01 AM (#5962049)
Lady Huskies or Husky Women? I thought the answer obvious, but a colleague (female, feminist) insisted Husky Women was proper.


As is almost always the correct answer, Huskies.
   57. Adam Starblind Posted: July 10, 2020 at 07:46 AM (#5962067)
The aforementioned NYU Violets are named for the color of their jerseys rather than the flower. Their mascot is a bobcat, for some reason.


"Bobst" is the name of the main library (and obviously of a major benefactor).

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