The Chief Wahoo logo has been a subject of controversy for some time. It’s been used in various forms by the Indians since the 1940s, and has been widely viewed as racist in recent years.
A New York Times report Monday says the Indians will stop using the logo after the 2018 season:
The Cleveland Indians will stop using the Chief Wahoo logo on their uniforms beginning in 2019, according to Major League Baseball, which said the popular symbol was no longer appropriate for use on the field.
In recent decades various groups across North America have appealed to the team to renounce the logo, to no avail. But over the past year the commissioner of baseball, Rob Manfred, has pressured Paul Dolan, Cleveland’s chairman and chief executive, to make a change.
This is the right decision. It should be noted that in addition to the pressure put on by the commissioner’s office in recent years, the Indians are scheduled to host the All-Star Game in 2019. The logo won’t be in place at Progressive Field, either, after the 2018 season. However, merchandise with the logo will still be sold, but only locally in the Cleveland area, and only in order to prevent others from profiting off it:
Although the Indians will stop using the logo on their uniforms, they will not relinquish the trademark and still will be able to profit off sales of merchandise bearing the logo at the stadium and in the Cleveland area. But by maintaining the trademark, the team, with the supervision of M.L.B., retains control of the proliferation of the logo. If it relinquished the trademark, or announced an intention to never claim its protections, another party could legally assume control of it and use the logo in other ways.
Here is the official statement from Major League Baseball, along with a comment from Dolan:
“Major League Baseball is committed to building a culture of diversity and inclusion throughout the game,” said Commissioner Manfred. “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 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.”
“We have consistently maintained that we are cognizant and sensitive to both sides of the discussion,” said Cleveland Indians owner Paul Dolan. “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.”
Thanks go to the Indians and Major League Baseball for recognizing that this logo has no place in the 21st Century.