For decades and decades, professional and college sports have been the center of a humungous controversy. What is this controversy?
The issue is Native American groups are severely against the Native American-themed teams like the Washington Redskins (NFL), Cleveland Indians (MLB), Chicago Blackhawks (NHL), and the Florida State Seminoles (College Football).
The groups consider the names of the teams and their logos “racial slurs” and "offensive" and will stop at nothing to cancel the trademark of all the teams that have to do with Native American culture. Some teams, however, are fine and want a little change but others are blatantly offensive to many Native Americans.
The Redskins have been getting the most scrutiny out of most of the teams. The controversy still continues after their trademark was cancelled - a decision which the Redskins organization is appealing.
And it seems as though the next team in line will be the Cleveland Indians. There is one logo that irks Native American groups the wrong way: the famous Chief Wahoo logo.
Since 1947, the Chief Wahoo logo has been the face of the Indians franchise and beloved by Tribe fans, players, coaches, and many others. However, it is not beloved by the Native American groups.
Some sportswriters and religious groups have voiced the concerns of the Native American groups and have drawn scrutiny towards the logo.
The Indians have been slapped with a lawsuit in the past months due to the logo with $9 billion to be in effect.
“We're going to be asking for $9 billion and we're basing it on a hundred years of disparity, racism, exploitation and profiteering,” Roche told WEWS-TV. “It's been offensive since day one. We are not mascots. My children are not mascots. We are people.”
A statement towards Rache was also released:
Robert Roche, a Chiricahua Apache and director of the American Indian Education Center, is planning to file a federal lawsuit in late July against the Cleveland Indians organization. Roche, who is also the leader of the group People Not Mascots, says the lawsuit will challenge that the team's name and Chief Wahoo logo are racist.
Although the Indians do see it as a incredibly large conflict, they have been taking to gradually phasing out the logo by adding the red block "C" logo as their primary image of choice.
For a brief period in 1993, the Indians organization contemplated discontinuing the Chief Wahoo logo but decided to keep it and have retain it since.
The smiling Indian is something Native Americans don't appreciate and want changed as soon as possible. The name "Indians" is likely to stay but the logo could be on it's way.
The Atlanta Braves had a similar issue with one of their older logos, known as the "screaming indian", back in the day but that issue has been resolved since. The Braves rejected the return of the logo in 2013.
The Chief Wahoo logo has been a staple in baseball history, good and bad in many different ways. It's hard to believe it will end up completely out of the picture in the future with it the defining logo in Cleveland Indians history as well.
Much is to say about how to portray a generalized appropriate logo for the sports team but it'll be a constant battle until the Indians figure out how to answer the lawsuit that could be coming their way soon.
Needless to say, the clock is ticking on the Chief Wahoo logo. The Redskins issue is the beginning but the Indians "smiling indian" could just be the start of a drastic change in American sports.