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Indians to remove Chief Wahoo logo in 2019

Indians to remove Chief Wahoo logo in 2019

Fans hold signs in the first inning of a game between the Cleveland Indians and the Detroit Tigers at Progressive Field.

"The Cleveland baseball team has rightly recognized that Native Americans do not deserve to be denigrated as cartoon mascots, and the team's move is a reflection of a grassroots movement that has pressed sports franchises to respect Native people", Oneida Nation Representative Ray Halbritter said in a statement.

According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Chief Wahoo logo debuted in 1932, when the newspaper ran a comic strip called "The Little Indian", featuring a Native American, to recap the previous day's results. During our constructive conversations, [Indians Chairman and CEO] 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.

"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", Dolan said in announcing the decision.

After lengthy discussions between team owner Paul Dolan and Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred, the Indians are shelving the big-toothed, smiling, red-faced caricature, which has been used in used in various expressions by the team since 1947.

The source added that the selective sale of Chief Wahoo gear is being made in order to keep other parties from profiting from the logo.

Manfred began talks with Cleveland ownership to drop the mascot last April, indicating in October that it was on his offseason agenda.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, along with Indians owner Paul Dolan, released a joint statement explaining that the removal of Chief Wahoo is one that followed discussions between the team and the MLB itself.

The decision is unlikely to quell complaints from Native American organizations and others who see the symbol as offensive.

"I'm elated", Philip Yenyo, executive director of the American Indian Movement of OH, said of the decision to stop using Wahoo on the uniforms.

This is not the end, however, for Chief Wahoo. According to the New York Times, the league now considers the logo inappropriate for use in any official capacity, and pressed the team to do away with it once and for all. I don't understand why they're drawing this out.

Reaction to the announcement was swift on social media as fans took sides on a touchy topic that has become part of the Cleveland sports landscape for generations.

At the time, Bob DiBiasio, the Indians' senior vice president of public affairs, indicated the team would be receptive to a future change.

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