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Re-imagining the Cleveland Indians. Er, Spiders. Er, Barons.

Apr 23, 2012, 9:44 AM EDT

Indians Block C

Most of you know I’m a long-standing Chief Wahoo hater, but I think it’s possible and, indeed, preferable to keep the Cleveland Indians name. This is so because, while I understand some people differ, I believe that Wahoo is an inherently offensive sambo character while using the name “Indians” as a team nickname — while somewhat perilous — isn’t necessarily insensitive.

The readers over at Uni Watch have been invited to totally re-imagine the Cleveland Indians, their name and, especially, their uniforms and iconography. The first batch of results are up today.  Some of them are kind of neat. Most of them are … unfortunate. That said, it’s great fun to mess around with this stuff anyway, no matter how you feel about the Wahoo/Indians, because designing uniforms looks like a blast.

My personal favorite is the Cleveland Colts submission. No, I’d never want to name the team that, but the script and design are pretty rad. Reminds me of a 1940s-50s minor league team, and I mean that as a compliment.

But like I said, I’d drop the Wahoo, keep the name, figure out how to make a club called the Cleveland Indians honor and elevate Indian culture and history rather than denigrate it and capitalize on it and then I’d make those alternate uniforms they wear with the block C on the cap — the blue cap! — the everyday getup.

In the meantime: enjoy the reader submissions.

(link via Cleveland Frowns)

  1. deathmonkey41 - Apr 23, 2012 at 9:56 AM

    I wish people would just stop with the insensitive stuff. It’s the name of a fricken’ sports team, for God’s sake. I’m Italian/German- I could care less if there was a team called “The Wyoming WOPs” or the “Kentucky Krauts”. I’d just be curious why so many Italians decided to settle in Wyoming and Germans found Kentucky appealing. Plus the mascots would probably be hillarious.

    • oldhighs - Apr 23, 2012 at 10:30 AM

      Your people also weren’t nearly completely wiped out by genocide.

      • deathmonkey41 - Apr 23, 2012 at 10:33 AM

        What does that have to do with anything? Italians and Germans can’t be offended because of that?

      • oldhighs - Apr 23, 2012 at 10:38 AM

        It means maybe if your culture was decimated, then completely ignored, by the same people (and their descendants) who use a funny-looking cartoon stereotype of your people as a sports mascot, your perception would be slightly different.

      • deathmonkey41 - Apr 23, 2012 at 10:43 AM

        Wow. Are you one of those people who believes racist comments can’t be made about white people?

      • oldhighs - Apr 23, 2012 at 10:46 AM

        Why would I be, and what does that have to do with the present discussion? Or are you just deflecting because you have an indefensible position?

      • deathmonkey41 - Apr 23, 2012 at 10:57 AM

        How is my argument indefensible? You’re implying that “WOP” is less offensive that “Indian” because the Italians didn’t go through a genocide. That’s a ridiculous statement. I’m not offended by names or stereotypes. Sorry, if that bothers you.

      • oldhighs - Apr 23, 2012 at 11:13 AM

        I’m suggesting that if you were of Native American ancestry, and your peoples’ place in American history was immigrants to America (read: our ancestors) considering them “savages”, murdering them, confining them to reservations, trying to “Americanize” (in spite of the fact that they were the natives, not us) and convert them in an effort to stomp out their culture – and then generation after generation of ignoring the atrocities entirely? Using stereotypes of their culture as the butt of jokes in Westerns, and as mascots for our sports teams? You would have a very different perception. You might not have a problem with names or stereotypes, but that doesn’t mean that other cultures don’t have a reason to be. Hate it break it to you, but everything does not revolve around your perception of the world.

        And needless to say, there IS no sports team named the Wops or Guidos. There is no longer any systemic support of racism against Italians (although there certainly was in the early 1900s). And if there still was? It wouldn’t be any more acceptable than the continuing systemic support of racism against a native culture that our people are responsible for destroying. Sorry if that doesn’t sit well with you, but it’s the truth.

      • koufaxmitzvah - Apr 23, 2012 at 11:15 AM

        Deathmonkey: The guy answered your question as to why the Native Americans wouldn’t want a baseball team named the Indians. He makes a lot of sense, and instead of accepting that as an argument, you continue to become argumentative. We’re not sissy, commie pinkos. We’re people with an empathy for others. Get over it.

      • deathmonkey41 - Apr 23, 2012 at 1:38 PM

        koufaxmitzvah – Apr 23, 2012 at 11:15 AM
        Deathmonkey: The guy answered your question as to why the Native Americans wouldn’t want a baseball team named the Indians. He makes a lot of sense, and instead of accepting that as an argument, you continue to become argumentative. We’re not sissy, commie pinkos. We’re people with an empathy for others. Get over it.

        You’re entitled to your opinion and I’m entitled to mine. He tried to turn it into an argument about who has the right to be more offended by stereotypes in terms of ancestory and I don’t think any one race/religion has the upper hand on another.

      • dadawg77 - Apr 23, 2012 at 2:54 PM

        People can make racist remarks about White people just it doesn’t carry much weight because their is no history of oppression behind the remarks. Hence why white people are much less offended (rightfully so) by racist remarks said against them.

      • deathmonkey41 - Apr 23, 2012 at 3:19 PM

        Wow- that’s a pretty dumb comment. You should open a history book and see how Italians and Irish among others were treated when they began arriving in this country.

      • koufaxmitzvah - Apr 23, 2012 at 3:42 PM

        There are arguments and being argumentative. These are technically different approaches to what some might consider to be debate.

    • brucewaynewins - Apr 23, 2012 at 11:33 AM

      @deathmonkey41

      Do you find being called a WOP or a Kraut offensive? Obviously not so you’re entire point is moot.

      This would be like Nazi Germany having a soccer team called the Berlin Jews or Berlin Kikes.

      The mascot is the offensive racism equivalent to a white person wearing black face.

      Indians are from India and Native Americans (the actual people the team is named for) are NOT Indians. This is due to the geographical ignorance and screw up of those who discovered America. They mistakenly believed they found India and thus called the Native Americans, Indians.

      So imagine the Kentucky team being called the Kentucky Mafia Bastards (because they mistook Germany for Italy) and your mascot being a beer drinking German and he is killing a Jew. That’s the equivalent to this.

      Now would that offend you if you saw that? If not then you can’t relate to why anybody who is offended by this would be offended. I’m not Native American, Indian, or in anyway a part of this but even I can emphasize enough to be offended by the blatant racism with this.

      Get a history book and read up before making comparisons they are apples to oranges.

      • deathmonkey41 - Apr 23, 2012 at 1:34 PM

        I said I wasn’t offended by those names- I can care less. Once again, not sure why that makes my point moot- that is my point. I know that they were mistakenly named after the East Indies- that’s why it’s PC to refer to any of the tribes as “Native American”. I don’t need a history lesson. My point is that that it can’t be offensive unless a person allows it to be. You don’t think Mario Bros characters aren’t a gross sterotype of Italians? Big nose Italian plumbers with dark, curly hair and thick mustaches? How is that so much different than Chief Wahoo exactly?

      • Kevin Gillman - Apr 23, 2012 at 5:27 PM

        The Indians mascot isn’t an Indian, it’s a mascot of a purple….ummmmm, what is Slider supposed to be?

  2. tuftsb - Apr 23, 2012 at 10:01 AM

    ” I believe that Wahoo is an inherently offensive sambo character while using the name “Indians” as a team nickname — while somewhat perilous — isn’t necessarily insensitive.”

    Exactly. And which is higher on the offense list – MLB making marketing dollars off tomahawk chops and buck-toothed stereotypes or a John Rocker or two spouting inanities?

  3. mybrunoblog - Apr 23, 2012 at 10:03 AM

    Poor Chief Wahoo. Can’t we leave him alone? You know is offensive? People with their odd sense of morality and what “offends” them. I am so tired of “that offends me, make it go away”.
    You know what offends me? Hmm, let’s see. Illinois Nazis. I hate Illinois Nazis.

    Ummm, almost forgot. Any movie involving Adam Sandler….real offensive. There ends my list…..

    • a125125125 - Apr 23, 2012 at 10:09 AM

      1000% agreed. I love this site, but the constant whining about ULTRA left wing policies has gotten old (don’t attack…I’m liberal too. just not ultra liberal). TOUGHEN UP AMERICA!

      Also….how come nobody ever points out that the “Pirates” play up negative aspects of white people? “Always plundering other people’s cultures…..why do we celebrate that? I’m sick of it!”
      -Craig Calcaterra in a few months

      • The Common Man - Apr 23, 2012 at 10:16 AM

        I’m pretty sure pirates were multicultural. At least, that’s what I’ve learned from the Pirates of the Caribbean movies.

      • a125125125 - Apr 23, 2012 at 10:17 AM

        A few more…..

        “The Nationals? Seriously? What about state’s rights!?!?!?”
        –Craig Calcaterra in a few months

        “The Royals? Please…..it’s high time we throw over the shackles imposed by our regal overlords.”
        –Craig Calcaterra in a few months

        “The Giants? Won’t someone think of the short people, whose cause has constantly been give short shrift in America.”
        –Craig Calcaterra in a few months

      • The Common Man - Apr 23, 2012 at 10:19 AM

        BTW, being tough has nothing to do with accepting a racist caricature as a mascot. If the Indians want to keep on being the Indians, fine, but Chief Wahoo is the Native American equivalent of a team using a mammy as their team logo.

      • a125125125 - Apr 23, 2012 at 10:24 AM

        Who died and made you king of the indians? I’m sure their little hearts just shatter everytime they see Justin Masterson pitch. :( TOUGHEN UP.

      • fearlessleader - Apr 23, 2012 at 10:23 AM

        So……believing that a sports team’s name and mascot are less important than the feelings of an entire race/culture is “ULTRA liberal” now?

        (Hint: No, it isn’t.)

      • a125125125 - Apr 23, 2012 at 10:28 AM

        WAAAHHHH! Quit using us as a mascot. I wish we could get someone that lived through real times of trouble (World Wars/Great Depression) to comment and tell you all how whiny you sound. If you think a sports logo is a problem, you have no concept of what a problem is.

      • The Common Man - Apr 23, 2012 at 10:34 AM

        Brother, nobody is comparing their troubles and problems with anyone else’s here. There are worse things in the world than Chief Wahoo. No one denies that. But Wahoo is also a bad thing. So why wouldn’t we want it changed? You don’t kick a homeless guy in the shins just because you can’t solve the homeless problem in this country single-handed. So why would you not want this mascot changed even if it doesn’t eliminate all racism and prejudice?

      • a125125125 - Apr 23, 2012 at 10:40 AM

        I dont want it fixed because it is not offending any rational human being. If you’re offended by chief wahoo, it’s because you’re an effin’ sissy. Now go get in your hybrid and drive your vegetarian kids to soccer practice because your wife told you to.

      • deathmonkey41 - Apr 23, 2012 at 10:45 AM

        Yes, I also learned that from Pirates of the Caribbean…that and also the fact that pirates become unfunnier and more lame with each sequel.

      • The Common Man - Apr 23, 2012 at 10:52 AM

        It’s offending me, and I can defend my position without devolving into idiotic cliches about “uber-liberals”. That seems pretty rational to me.

        Speaking of rationality, can you explain to me why the Chief Wahoo mascot is not offensive on its face? I mean with real answers, and not with frustrated namecalling meant to distract people from the fact that you don’t actually seem to have an argument.

      • a125125125 - Apr 23, 2012 at 10:57 AM

        It’s not offensive….it’s a face. It’s no more offensive than the Pirates’ sneering pirate logo or any other logo featuring someone’s face.

        And why….exactly….are you offended? Call it a “Sambo” logo seems pretty vague. What about it strikes such a cord with you? You’re the one arguing for change….should you’re reasoning be better than “I find it offensive because it offends me.”……seems pretty circular.

      • fearlessleader - Apr 23, 2012 at 11:08 AM

        “it is not offending any rational human being”

        Ah, gotcha. Anyone who doesn’t agree with you and see the world through your narrow lenses is therefore not “rational.”

        Listen to Common Man. He’s smarter than you.

      • a125125125 - Apr 23, 2012 at 11:42 AM

        Right….he’s offended and I’m not…..he must be smarter. I can assure you that it’s possible, but not likely, that he is smarter than me.

      • The Common Man - Apr 23, 2012 at 11:22 AM

        Well, pirates aren’t a race of people for one thing. For another, it’s a big grinning red face (it actually used to be browner, and with a more exaggerated hook-like nose). And this face is meant to represent the concept of “Indians”. There’s a long tradition of Native Americans being portrayed in overly simplistic and stereotyped ways, just as there is a tradition of mocking African Americans with grinning sambo, mammy and Topsy caricatures. You can see this in the Indians in traveling Wild West shows and circuses (where they were often played by whites, in the same way that Amos and Andy were white guys in blackface), Disney’s Peter Pan (“What Makes the Red Man Red”), and in kitsch figures sold across the American West (http://uncleeddiestheorycorner.blogspot.com/2008/09/thoughts-about-indian-caricatures.html). It’s part of that same history, and is a reflection of the offensive stereotypes that created it.

      • a125125125 - Apr 23, 2012 at 11:44 AM

        Awwww….that’s so heart breaking. I just got a press release from mice….they say they’re really pissed about Mickey Mouse. With his big ears and pointy noise. He’s a caricature!!! He’s meant to look cartoon-like. Jesus Christ…..people have just lost their minds with all this politically fueled sensitivity.

      • koufaxmitzvah - Apr 23, 2012 at 11:23 AM

        I can’t tell what’s funnier. An anonymous commenter who goes by “a125125125″ complaining about people complaining about racial stereotype, or said anonymous commenter complaining that other people should TOUGHEN UP because they have the audacity to post comments complaining about him.

        Shouldn’t that mean you TOUGHEN UP, bro? Or are we supposed to just give you this thread to play around with. And pull your pants up.

      • a125125125 - Apr 23, 2012 at 11:45 AM

        Yeah, bro. I’m anonymous, bro. Unlike koufaxmitzvah. Everybody knows that guy because he’s so popular and awesome from his awesome commenting on hardball talk, bro. Get over yourself and TOUGHEN UP.

      • The Common Man - Apr 23, 2012 at 11:49 AM

        Well, you still haven’t explained why you believe it’s not offensive a125125125. I mean, other than saying that people have as much right to get angry about racist caricatures as they do to get upset about Mickey Mouse. Which…man…do you even read what you write? You don’t see a basic, fundamental difference between those two situations?

      • a125125125 - Apr 23, 2012 at 11:54 AM

        Of course there’s a difference….but just calling Chief Wahoo racist, doesn’t make it racist. Why is it racist? Because you think so? I can guarantee you that nobody has ever taken any serious action over Chief Wahoo (other than token protests from time to time)…..if it were truly racist, someone would have taken a much stronger stand (Exp: legislation or CONSTANT protests) a looooong time ago. Calling Chief Wahoo racist is an insult to people that were prohibited from attending schools, using water fountains, playing MLB, etc.

      • a125125125 - Apr 23, 2012 at 11:55 AM

        Get some perspective.

      • The Common Man - Apr 23, 2012 at 12:07 PM

        Again, this isn’t a “who’s more oppressed”-off. Although, I mean, there did used to be millions of Native Americans on this continent, and they didn’t just disappear. But if your argument is that “it’s not racist because Americans don’t think it’s racist,” then I think pretty much all of American history kind of proves you wrong. Because throughout our country’s normally awesome lifespan, people have been doing shitty things to people who are different from them without considering it the least bit out of the ordinary. And the reason is that people generally don’t like thinking that they’re being jerks about something. Even when they are. So much of the complaining about “political correctness,” seems to me to come from people who have acted a certain way for a long time and who don’t want to feel like they’ve been acting like jerks the whole time.

      • a125125125 - Apr 23, 2012 at 1:11 PM

        I think you’re underestimating America. Throughout our “lifespan” this country has done some shitty things….but ultimately, if something is truly racist….good people have shown a pretty good willingness to stop doing it and correct the problem (integrating schools, passing legislation to ensure that the south was properly integrated, voting rights, etc). Here, that is not occurring. If this were truly awful, people would get involved and stop it. THIS IS NOT A BIG DEAL…..just a logo on a ball cap. The fact that extremists want to blow this up into an issue is revolting.

      • The Common Man - Apr 23, 2012 at 1:37 PM

        Wait, because I disagree with you over the use of a logo, I’m an “extremist” now? Dude, I know that this may be lost on you, given your stance that words and images mean what you say they do and don’t exist in a larger historical and cultural context, but the word “extremist” is pretty loaded these days, isn’t it?

        All those advancements you’re talking about, from voting rights to school integration to, hell, even Jackie Robinson breaking the color line in baseball, happened because a small group imposed their will on a larger one. Baseball wasn’t clamoring for blacks to be in it before Branch Rickey signed Jackie Robinson, but then the rest of baseball had to follow suit if they were going to compete. The South was integrated because of “judicial activism” as it would be called today and because a president was willing to call out the National Guard to make it happen. These weren’t populist movements driven by an altruistic majority. What’s more, as someone else noted in these comments, the Braves changed their logo to get rid of their screaming Indian in the early 1990s, so clearly there’s precedent for this sort of correction.

        Finally, as you say, it’s a relatively small thing. It’s a logo. So if it’s not such a big deal, why shouldn’t it be retired since it’s part of a racist culture and tradition we want to move beyond and that is offensive to a lot of people? Why are you fighting so hard to keep something that doesn’t apparently matter to you?

      • a125125125 - Apr 23, 2012 at 1:52 PM

        I’m confused….it is a good thing or a bad thing that it doesn’t offend many people? Changes only happen when small numbers of people care? That’s not accurate at all. Listen…..it’s just a baseball logo. If you seriously are that offended by it….my advice is to never look at it again. But please don’t let your weird Indian hang up ruin the enjoyment of the vast majority of us that don’t care. And the logo is not racist. You can call it racist all day long….but it doesn’t make it so. It’s a caricature of a race of people and literally could not be less of a big deal. Feel free to get the last word in….I won’t be responding anymore. Long live Chief Wahoo!!!!

      • The Common Man - Apr 23, 2012 at 2:04 PM

        Sure, I’ll take the last word. You’ve misinterpreted my point. Change can happen when large numbers of people do the right thing. But in the cases you cite, a relatively small number demanded that the majority do the right thing, and eventually the majority came around and stopped complaining. But it took a very long time, and some are still bitching about it. The point is that just because a majority believes something is not racist doesn’t make it so.

        And nobody wants to ruin your enjoyment of the game. But if you’re taking a lot of pleasure out of a mascot, well then you’re doing baseball fandom wrong (unless that mascot is Youppi! Ha, Youppi!).

        Again, if it’s “just a logo”, and it’s offensive (which, again, I’ve demonstrated it is a relic of a racist cultural history that has dehumanized, marginalized, and stereotyped blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and Native Americans while you…haven’t really done anything to demonstrate that it isn’t offensive other than shouting over and over again that it’s a logo and you don’t think it’s racist), why wouldn’t we change it to something that isn’t yet another caricature of Native people?

      • koufaxmitzvah - Apr 23, 2012 at 3:49 PM

        Well, Bro, to someone who actually reads into someone’s chosen moniker, whether they be a proper name, birthdate, favorite team, one can presume that Koufaxmitzvah is based on 1. the Dodgers, and 2. Jews. Some may go further and consider it to be some sort of shtick of the poster, but that’s besides the point since on this page, you’re using the a125125125 moniker to poopoo any denigration that may very well be considered when discussing Chief Wahoo and the name Cleveland Indians.

        But, please, don’t read too much into things. I wouldn’t want you to hurt yourself.

        And always take things personally. Especially with me. As a Jewish Dodgers fan, I hate douchebag dipshits. It’s part of the shtick.

      • Kevin Gillman - Apr 23, 2012 at 5:36 PM

        That’s how liberals are, they whine…LOL Sorry, it was too easy for me not to say.

  4. amaninwhite - Apr 23, 2012 at 10:09 AM

    While I do not think that Cleveland is the worst offender (to me it’s the Washington Redskins), I do think that to do it right, you probably have to change the team name as well as the logo. If not for PC reasons, but for the fact that “Indians” really isn’t an accurate description. I can also sympathize with your idea of trying to use the team as a way to elevate cultural awareness, but if use of the name “Sioux” by UND is not considered acceptable, I don’t quite see how using “Indians” is any different. But I welcome all opinions to the contrary. Thank you.

    • Jonny 5 - Apr 23, 2012 at 10:36 AM

      http://softeuropean.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/homer-blackhawks.jpg?w=281&h=294

  5. deathmonkey41 - Apr 23, 2012 at 10:21 AM

    Is the term “Yankee” offensive to people from the North?

    • The Common Man - Apr 23, 2012 at 10:28 AM

      No, and it’s not the same thing.

      • deathmonkey41 - Apr 23, 2012 at 1:47 PM

        Not sure why not- it was a derogatory term probably first used by the British to label New England settlers and then later as a derisive epithet from the Confederate states to label Northerners. Yankee Doodle Dandy was a song made up by the British to mock American settlers- until Americans adopted the song and took it away from them.

      • The Common Man - Apr 23, 2012 at 1:52 PM

        Right, adoption and ownership is key here. Some Native Americans have adopted “Indians,” that’s true. But they never owned the Cleveland Indians. And they certainly didn’t describe the mascot. With the Yankees, the name was appropriated by the citizens of New York to describe THEIR baseball team.

      • Bill - Apr 23, 2012 at 2:12 PM

        Shorter deathmonkey41: “Not sure why not- paragraph explaining exactly why not.”

    • Jonny 5 - Apr 23, 2012 at 10:34 AM

      You can’t insult northern white people anyway. We are either extremely hardy and insensitive, or we have selective hearing. I haven’t figured out which.

  6. contraryguy - Apr 23, 2012 at 10:40 AM

    Changing the team name for political reasons… good thing Cinci has never done that… oops, yes they have. They were the ‘Redlegs’ during the McCarthy era so as to not be associated with Communists. But that nonsense passed, and they’re back to being the Reds again. Will the indignation over the Indians (who are referred to as The Tribe as much or more than the Indians name around here) pass too? Probably.

    Typing this while wearing a U. North Dakota Fighting Sioux t-shirt.

  7. oldhighs - Apr 23, 2012 at 10:43 AM

    Good to know that our ancestors murdered these people, destroyed their culture, and took their land so that we may have sports mascots. America!

    • oldhighs - Apr 23, 2012 at 10:48 AM

      PS Does Turkey have a “Fightin’ Armenians” football club?

  8. sdelmonte - Apr 23, 2012 at 10:50 AM

    I have seen some cases where people of Irish descent state that they take offense at the Fighting Irish and the Celtics. And I would not love seeing a team called the Jews. So I am among those who would do away with the very Indians name.

    I’m partial to bringing back the Spiders, and rehabilitating that name.

    • winkeroni - Apr 23, 2012 at 11:20 AM

      I’ve got some Irish and I would find a team named the Black and Tans or The Ironsides much more offensive than the Fighting Irish or the Celtics. Even if the Fighting Irish are winning and are favorites, in an Irish lad’s heart they’re the under dog. We don’t even control our entire island. Thank you UK for occupying that Northern part for us.

      I don’t know what it’s like for Native Americans. Maybe a name like Cowboys or Patriots is much more offensive than Redskins.

  9. amhendrick - Apr 23, 2012 at 10:56 AM

    Skipping the question of whether the Indians need to change, the uniform submissions are pretty cool. If I had the time and any artistic ability at all, I would have fun designing a whole league’s worth of uniforms.

  10. larryhockett - Apr 23, 2012 at 10:59 AM

    Couching this issue in terms of “taking offense” or “insensitivity” is wholly misunderstanding the issue. Racism manifests in many forms but name-calling is merely a symptom, not the disease. The real danger develops when groups of people are marginalized, pushed outside the community in subtle but very significant ways. I don’t care if you would or wouldn’t be offended by any particular name. But what’s inherent in the process is that using cultural groups as sports mascots, and in particular demeaning caricatures, further reinforces in everyone’s minds that that group is not entitled the same social status as “the rest of us.” So it doesn’t really matter if you are thick or thinned skinned or you would or wouldn’t be upset if someone called you a name because it’s not about you and your sensitivities.

    • fearlessleader - Apr 23, 2012 at 11:13 AM

      Well said—thank you. Once we begin seeing entire groups of people as caricatures, symbols, and stereotypes, we lose our ability to know and respect them as human beings. People who have never been part of a minority or a marginalized group have trouble understanding that, as we’re seeing demonstrated in a great many of these comments.

  11. latchbeam - Apr 23, 2012 at 11:12 AM

    The name “Indian” is certainly not offensive. There are several (at least 6) major tribes with roots in Ohio. Chief Wahoo is a caricature… simply a mascot. This PC crap is out of control!!

    • koufaxmitzvah - Apr 23, 2012 at 11:27 AM

      Is it really out of control? The first time I heard about this issue was back in 1985 while reading an article in Sports Illustrated. I was an early teen back then, and my impression was that this controversy had been raging for at least the previous 30 years.

      That’s a pretty slow brewing sudden outrage.

    • Gobias Industries - Apr 23, 2012 at 11:29 AM

      As a fellow white male who has never experienced discrimination, I completely agree that “this PC crap is out of control”.

      Ahem.

    • oldhighs - Apr 23, 2012 at 12:17 PM

      “There are several (at least 6) major tribes with roots in Ohio.”

      And none of them are “Indians”.

    • kingofmeh - Apr 23, 2012 at 6:19 PM

      yes, if there is a common thread to american history, it is that white men are thwarted at every turn in doing whatever they want.

      also, referring to chief wahoo as a “caricature” to prove that he’s not offensive? racial caricatures are offensive, generally. by definition, a “caricature” reduces a group of people to an anssumbly of stereotypes. you’re just proving the point that he is offensive.

  12. nflperson - Apr 23, 2012 at 11:19 AM

    Chief Wahoo, while a cartoon, is not a serious attempt to marginalize anyone’s culture. If someone is offended by Chief Wahoo, then what else is that person offended by and to what ends must we go to assure that person will never be offended again?

    The name Indians and the Chief Wahoo logo have been around for a really long time. Longevity doesn’t make something right, but why mess with it now? How many Native Americans look at Chief Wahoo and instantly become outraged? After observing the situation, it appears liberal-minded white apologists are the driving force to reduce the visibility of Chief Wahoo because they believe they are the arbiters of right and wrong in our society.

    • The Common Man - Apr 23, 2012 at 11:33 AM

      Look, man, nobody’s saying that the users of Wahoo are deliberately trying to piss people off. But it’s literally the face of the Cleveland franchise. And that face carries with it a hell of a lot of racist baggage. Look at it from a question of what’s right and wrong or look at it from a business standpoint (using it could potentially limit the gear that you sell over the long term).

      And why now? Well, because people should have done something about it a long time ago. But they didn’t. And maybe, today, we can do the right thing. (Note: I realize that this makes me the arbiter of right and wrong that you so despise, but do you really want to be on the side of this: http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_luy0wk6mbS1qg1lsq.jpg)

    • larryhockett - Apr 23, 2012 at 11:40 AM

      You’re wholly misunderstanding the meaning of the term “marginalize.” It’s not about offense or sensitivity. It’s about subtle messages through names and iconography that affect that group’s standing in the community. There need not be a serious or even concerted attempt to marginalize, it can and often does happen through little more than ignorance. That it’s existed for this long is a poor excuse to allow it to continue to exist.

    • dnc6 - Apr 23, 2012 at 12:01 PM

      It’s not anymore because we realize how riduculous it is. But when the team name and mascots were chosen, they certainly marginalized the Indian culture.

    • kingofmeh - Apr 23, 2012 at 6:36 PM

      instead of asking rhetorically how many native americans are offended, and apparently assuming the answer is “none,” maybe you should look to see if the answer is “lots.”

      http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2012/04/native_americans_to_mark_cleve.html

      http://www.midwestsportsfans.com/2012/04/cleveland-indians-regarding-chief-wahoo-and-racism/

      and as for them all being “white apologists,” check the second link where an actual person observing the protesters states “Most of these protesters were Native Americans themselves, but not all. “

  13. ezthinking - Apr 23, 2012 at 11:23 AM

    How about you actually find out if Indians are offended by the Chief Wahoo? Guess what, i live near several Indian reservations and see real Indians wearing Chief Wahoo hats all the time.

    • Gobias Industries - Apr 23, 2012 at 11:31 AM

      Case dismissed!

  14. koufaxmitzvah - Apr 23, 2012 at 11:29 AM

    Nothing is worse than the Washington Redskins.

    Might as well call your team the Kansas City Faggots (which, btw, is the name of a band).

    ^^^ I use this term because it is the most acceptable of shocking racial/sexist slurs I can think of in order to make a point.

    • nflperson - Apr 23, 2012 at 11:33 AM

      There is a big difference between a team called the Faggots and a team called the Indians.

      Grow up.

      • koufaxmitzvah - Apr 23, 2012 at 11:39 AM

        I was actually referencing Faggots with Redskins. But you’re right. Faggots is much cleaner.

  15. bstras2809 - Apr 23, 2012 at 12:13 PM

    This is crap. You wanna tackle political, insensitive issues on a sports blog? Go somewhere else. Chief Wahoo and the Indians were brought about CELEBRATING the heritage of Louis Sockalexis who played for the Cleveland Spiders in 1897. If you’re not of Native American decent and you find it to be used in a negative context, then YOU’RE the one who’s racist. Maybe you should think long and hard about why you think the term Indians is racist. Oh, and I look forward to reading your article about the Redskins too.

    • joshnorman - Apr 23, 2012 at 12:16 PM

      So if the Dodgers had changed their name to the Jews after Sandy Koufax pitched there, and used a caricature of a Jew as their cap logo, maybe nicknaming it “Rabbi Goldstein” or something equivalently ignorant, that would be ok because they’re celebrating Sandy Koufax, and I’m a racist for having a problem with it?
      Makes sense.

    • The Common Man - Apr 23, 2012 at 12:26 PM

      So what you’re saying is, you’re not aware that the Lou Sockalexis story has been pretty well debunked. And even if we retroactively decided to honor Sockalexis by dedicating the name “Indians” to his memory, he looked absolutely nothing like the Chief Wahoo mascot, which is a racist caricature not of Sockalexis, but meant to represent all Indians.

    • cosanostra71 - Apr 28, 2012 at 9:02 PM

      “You wanna tackle political, insensitive issues on a sports blog? Go somewhere else.”

      thank you

  16. brewcrewbombers - Apr 23, 2012 at 12:34 PM

    1. 125 x 3 i do think you meant stuck a chord…not cord.
    2. The Braves did away with the screaming indian…..Mr. Wahoo can disappear as well.
    3. Finally, Cleveland Colts, Cleveland Tribe…..just saying the Colts have a nice ring….now watch Houston lose their minds…

  17. leftywildcat - Apr 23, 2012 at 1:02 PM

    Blue Socks may not work, Blue Sox might.

    Craig’s Spiders sounds good, and Colts sounds OK so long as Houston doesn’t want to return to the name Colts when they change leagues.

    Owls? Hawks? Cougars? Bobcats? There’s lots of good names out there. Get ‘er done, and get the Braves renamed, too, and move on. The issue doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon.

  18. deathmonkey41 - Apr 23, 2012 at 2:20 PM

    Does Ohio have an abnormally high population of spiders or something?

    • contraryguy - Apr 23, 2012 at 2:58 PM

      “Does Ohio have an abnormally high population of spiders or something?”

      No, that would be Kansas. (Brown recluse all over the place, so I hear)

      What WOULD be a good rename for the Tribe? MLB would want it to be something unencumbered by trademark, and offhand I can’t think of a ‘natural’ local name for the Cleveland area. A friend who grew a fan of them says he kinda likes the Spider thing, and it would be unique in the pros, so why not?

  19. normcash - Apr 23, 2012 at 2:37 PM

    Interesting thread, to say the least! No doubt some of the complaints about team nicknames
    are over-the-top and smack of manufactured outrage. I have in mind nicknames like “Braves” and, in college, the North Dakota Fighting Sioux. The problem with “Indians” isn’t the name per se. It’s
    the cartoonish Chief Wahoo.

    By the way, several posters make the frequently heard argument that nobody complains about
    denigrating names for whites. Isn’t that racist too? The reason you never hear such complaints is that whites aren’t actually ever offended. Remember the attempt by blacks to invent a derogatory
    term for whites when they came up with “honky”? It never took because it never stung. Such terms only wound when they are applied by a dominant group to a minority group. There are plenty of derogatory terms used aginst whites: wops, kikes, hillbillies, etc. But they are used by whites
    with cultural or ethnic dominance over other whites. It’s psychologically impossible for minorities
    to hurt the dominant group with derogatory terms, excpet, perhaps, the term “racist”. Which is a good thing.

  20. raysfan1 - Apr 23, 2012 at 2:50 PM

    As a part-Native American (Miami), I personally have never found the use of Native American names or imagery inherently offensive. As for Chief Wahoo, while I do not feel my ancestry is being insulted by its existence, I do find it insulting to intelligence and good taste. Readers above have mentioned the UND “Fighting Sioux”–that name does need to go as the Lakota tribe has made it very clear they do not like that name…to understand why, one might start with the fact the Lakota tribal name is not Sioux to begin with. Meanwhile, Central Michigan and Florida State have specific endorsements from Chippewas and Seminoles, respectively, for their names–both schools offer scholarships, sponsor anthropological and cultural studies, etc. Cleveland Indians: drop Chief Wahoo, study CMU’s and FSU’s model and do likewise.

    • Bill - Apr 23, 2012 at 3:12 PM

      Two things:
      (1) really great comment.
      (2) I wouldn’t think the Rays fan would need to number him- or herself. :)

      • raysfan1 - Apr 23, 2012 at 8:44 PM

        Thanks. Maybe we Rays fans do need to be numbered, finally…so far this year, attendance is over 29K per game, middle of the pack for MLB, but far better than last year!

    • The Common Man - Apr 23, 2012 at 3:29 PM

      Echoing what Bill said, yes, that’s a terrific perspective. I hope folks scroll down to the bottom to see this.

  21. tuftsb - Apr 24, 2012 at 12:06 PM

    and this entire is why people’s comments should come with a name attached and not some odd pseudonym- if people are forced to come out from behind anonymity, they would have to take public ownership of their words.

    also, it unfortunately demonstrates the “banality of evil” in far too many people’ souls. I see the logo and think about Der Strumer in the 1930s or Arab cartoons today about Jews.

  22. jsc1973 - Apr 30, 2012 at 2:33 PM

    We should stop all discussion of the Cleveland Indians and Chief Wahoo so long as a sports team is allowed to call itself the Washington Redskins. “Indians” is a generic term for American indigenous people. “Redskins” is a racial slur against said people.

    But it would be easy to solve the problem, since as long as Dan Snyder owns the Redskins, they’re really going to be the Deadskins.

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