Cleveland Indians: Regarding Chief Wahoo and Racism

The opening week of baseball in Cleveland is always a celebration for baseball fans, but not for everyone.

chief-wahooAs I walked up towards Progressive Field before the game on Saturday I saw a familiar sight. There were protesters holding signs admonishing the “Chief Wahoo” caricature as racist.

Most of these protesters were Native Americans themselves, but not all. They were protesting peacefully and even told fans to enjoy the game. The only thing they want people to realize is that the use of “Chief Wahoo” as the team’s logo is wrong.

When this issue is brought up there are two trains of thought.

The first is that the logo is indeed racist. This also calls into question the logos of the Washington Redskins, Florida State Seminoles, and Atlanta Braves among others. Each of these teams have their own individual controversies, and some have resolved conflicts regarding their mascots.

Regarding the Indians and “Chief Wahoo”, I do believe that the use of this logo is racist. Even the team’s name is derogatory, as the term Indian makes little sense regarding Native Americans, as they are not Indian. This is an improper term that goes back to the days of Christopher Columbus.

The logo is ironic in a sense, as it features the colors of red, white, and blue, which are the colors of the American flag. I am (almost) positive that the colors were not meant to be a direct bashing of Native Americans, but it is a possibility.

The other train of though regarding the topic is to say that the issue should just be forgotten. The logo was made decades ago and is now just tradition. Growing up as an Indians fan, I can see this argument as valid.

However, changing the team’s logo to something as simple as a block “C” would not be all that bad. Changing the team’s name entirely is a completely different story.

The Indians utilize the block “C” on their hats, and the rebranding would not be an issue. Their mascot is “Slider” which does not even remotely resemble “Chief Wahoo”.

For those who argue that Native Americans need to let the logo be, they must realize where the Native American protestors are coming from. I say “protestors” because not all of the Native American population is against the use of the logo.

The “Chief Wahoo” logo is derogatory towards the entire history of Native American tribes, especially when the team name is the “Indians”. It is just as bad as the team names that were used in the Negro Leagues, with the “Black Yankees” being a perfect example.

Sports are a form of entertainment, and teams should never cause controversy for their logos. I myself am a die hard Cleveland Indians fan who would have no problem with “Chief Wahoo” being replaced, as it is indeed derogatory and racist.

Time will tell if those in the organization, or the league office, agree.

About Steve Kubitza

Being a native of the Cleveland, Steve Kubitza has endured many years of sports torture. He is a die-hard fan of his hometown teams, and also is a fan of professional sports in general. His articles will cover many different stories regarding the latest news, along with his opinions, in the world of sports. He also gets into the world of professional wrestling, offering his views on the current landscape of the WWE. Follow him on Twitter (@KubitzaMSF) to hear his opinions on everything from Cleveland sports to the WWE.


  1. irjoshy says:

    History doesn’t care, and I don’t care. We are the only nation in the history of the world who feels the need to apologize to those that our ancestors conquered. It is naturally human for one group to push out another for control of land, nothing new here. Why people care about what the Native Americans say is beyond me. With this reasoning we should expect the Muslims to apologize to all of Africa for invading and spreading Islam while they murdered and raped Jews and Christians. What needs to stop is the political correctness BS that people are so worried about. I really wish college students, suburbanites, and the soccer moms would just keep their mouths shut about nonsense like this because it’s leading to the wussification of America. 

  2.  Everybody says there is this RACE problem. Everybody says this RACE problem will be solved when the third world pours into EVERY white country and ONLY into white countries.
    The Netherlands and Belgium are just as crowded as Japan or Taiwan, but nobody says Japan or Taiwan will solve this RACE problem by bringing in millions of third worlders and quote assimilating unquote with them.
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    How long would it take anyone to realise I’m not talking about a RACE problem. I am talking about the final solution to the BLACK problem?
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  3. I think Steve Kubitza should retire. I’m tired of all the cry-babies we have running around today. Stop the whining that this is racist and that is racist. Actually, Chief Wahoo is not derogatory at all, its actually a very cute looking logo. Use a block “C” for the logo? How boring can you get! What’s next, no logo so we don’t offend anyone whose name begins with the letter “C”. A final note; If management ever buckles to a bunch of cry-babies and changes the logo, I’ll stop watching the Indians altogether.

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