Indians will stop using Chief Wahoo logo in 2019

Mark Duncan  Associated Press

Chief Wahoo's days are numbered.

After years of debate, the Cleveland Indians announced Monday that the team's mascot, Chief Wahoo, will no longer be on the team's uniforms starting in the 2019 season.

Though the team's ownership long resisted calls to end their use of the logo, the franchise nevertheless had taken steps in recent years to prepare for the possibility that Major League Baseball would make the decision for them.

Chief Wahoo, the grinning, red-faced caricature with big white teeth, has been criticized as racist and derogatory to Native Americans. "Nonetheless, the club ultimately agreed with my position that the logo is no longer appropriate for on-field use. 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".

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.

While the team has used the image of a Native American as their logo for almost 100 years, it wasn't until the late 1940's that the Wahoo logo was used but Wahoo has remained, for the most part, unchanged since then. He is a leader of the Change the Mascot campaign against the team name of the Washington NFL club.

"The decision by the Cleveland Indians to retire Chief Wahoo from team uniforms is wonderful news for the city". "Over the past year, we encouraged dialogue with the Indians organisation about the Club's use of the Chief Wahoo logo".

"Those Native American protesters who gather at the ironically named Progressive Field-some of them members of the Cleveland American Indian Movement (AIM) and the Committee of 500 Years of Dignity and Resistance-have not been met with open arms or friendly words". Topps, the company that markets baseball cards, replaced the Chief Wahoo logo with the "C" in 2017 and made a point to feature photographs of players not wearing the logo. That court case was dismissed by a judge.

The Chief Wahoo symbol, however, was still stitched onto their uniforms. Though it won't be for sale on merchandise through Major League Baseball and it won't appear on jerseys, caps, or in Progressive Field where the Indians play, items with the logo will still be available locally, in stores across northern OH and in the team's shop.

She celebrated the fact that instead of just quietly changing the logo, Major League Baseball said it was inappropriate to use.

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