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“De-Chiefing” is becoming a thing among Indians fans

Apr 3, 2014, 11:36 AM EDT


I think I was one of the first to re-tweet a picture of Indians fan Dennis Browns’ Indians jersey from which he removed the Wahoo patch. That got people talking about — and sharing — their experiences with “De-Chiefing,” or removing Chief Wahoo from their Indians merchandise. Today Paul Lukas has a story about Brown and others who have done this. Their motivations and the backlash they’ve received.

A lot of that goes exactly how you think it might go, but Lukas does make an excellent but overlooked point regarding all of this, and that’s that the organization’s silence on the matter has created space for the acrimony:

Indians officials have compounded matters by engaging in a slow but unmistakable campaign of de-emphasizing Wahoo, while refusing to acknowledge that that’s what they’re doing, resulting in a leadership vacuum that pro- and anti-Wahoo forces are both anxious to fill.

I started pointing out this de-emphasis on Wahoo a couple of years ago, and I’ll acknowledge that, as a policy, it’s probably the path of least resistance for the Indians to take.  If they were to suddenly eliminate Wahoo from their caps and jerseys — or if they were to publicly state that they are getting rid of him eventually — it would create a pretty big firestorm. Political commentators would get in on it and it would be a giant mess that no baseball team wants any part of.

But Lukas is right: the Indians’ silence on this does create something of an adversarial relationship between those who would prefer Wahoo gone and those who would prefer he stay.

132 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. musketmaniac - Apr 3, 2014 at 2:31 PM

    the Cleveland Redmen drop the native american gear, add a cartoon of a white guy extremely embarrassed because he lives in Cleveland.

  2. grumpyoleman - Apr 3, 2014 at 3:20 PM

    Homer Simpson offends me

    • yahmule - Apr 3, 2014 at 7:09 PM

      Are you inappropriate, bald and badly jaundiced?

      • grumpyoleman - Apr 4, 2014 at 8:36 AM

        Pretty much.

    • gofish721 - Apr 4, 2014 at 1:23 PM

      same with Fred Flintstone, Mr. MaGoo, George Jetson… but wait, they’re just a bunch of dumpy old white guys. No need to worry about offending them!

      I bought up as much Chief Wahoo gear as I could. Saving up for the inevitable. Will be worth a fortune on eBay some day tho!!!

  3. zdravit - Apr 3, 2014 at 3:35 PM

    Thanks, Obama. You people are sick.

  4. rcali - Apr 3, 2014 at 3:44 PM

    Holy crap, I wish I had time in my life to worry about these PC things…..actually, maybe not.

    • nategearhart - Apr 4, 2014 at 10:56 AM

      Not insulting people actually takes no time at all.

  5. dcarroll73 - Apr 3, 2014 at 4:07 PM

    People who try to claim that Wahoo is not offensive either are overdue for an eye doctor appointment or score in the sociopath range on an empathy test. For God’s sake, look at the thing! I am part Irish American, and I have been amused at the attempts to justify this with a comparison to the Notre Dame logo. Frankly that logo IS offensive, Anyone with some background in history (I have a BA in it) will see that it is just about directly taken from one of the anti-Irish cartoons of the early 1800s. I would be happy to see it dropped in favor of something Irish but more positive. I don’t mind “Fighting Irish” (hey, if the shoe fits …) any more than most Lakota minded “Fighting Sioux” when college hockey had this same sort of naming/logo battle. I think the thing is to have a positive image. My solution which I have posted on HBT before is to have an Indian image but to change it to a handsome, kickass guy – sort of a baseball playing Jay Silverheels. How would this fail to solve the problem?

    • hockeyflow33 - Apr 3, 2014 at 4:16 PM

      We know you aren’t really Irish because you said you were offended, Irish people never get offended

      • dcarroll73 - Apr 3, 2014 at 8:13 PM

        Have you never been to Fenway? Maybe people in Ireland don’t take offense, but Irish Americans are “ready to drop the gloves” as they say in hockey at any imagined provocation. I once saw a Yankee fan punched cold at Fenway when they weren’t even playing the Yanks (the scoreboard changed, and the guy forgot where he was.)

      • hockeyflow33 - Apr 3, 2014 at 8:37 PM

        That’s not getting offended. No one is claiming that us Irish don’t enjoy fighting.

  6. musketmaniac - Apr 3, 2014 at 4:16 PM

    at least the baseball players are tame. I feel sorry for the Seminole people. every time you turn around a Seminole is raping or attacking someone. If you did not know any better you would think that every Seminole is raping, thieving s.o.b

  7. bat42boy - Apr 3, 2014 at 4:26 PM

    All the political (so-called) do gooders should shut up and go pack sand. There’s nothing wrong with the Chief Wahoo logo. In fact it is the best logo in pro sports by truly honoring the real native Americans. End on discussion.

    • lifer124 - Apr 3, 2014 at 5:05 PM

      Thanks for ending the discussion for us all. I’ll go do as I’m told and pack my sand.

    • raysfan1 - Apr 3, 2014 at 5:33 PM

      Okay, let’s assume for a moment that the Chief Wahoo logo is intended as an honor to Native Americans, as you say.

      The counterpoint is that if the population being honored instead feels insulted, perhaps that attempted honor should be rethought…and changed.

  8. sfm073 - Apr 3, 2014 at 5:52 PM

    I don’t care about the hellish conditions native Americans live in, but I will not stand for your offensive names and symbols!Does this sound familiar to some of you?

    • yahmule - Apr 3, 2014 at 7:12 PM

      Sounds like someone deflecting the issue.

  9. janessa31888 - Apr 3, 2014 at 5:54 PM

    Lets go back to being the Cleveland Spiders. Problem solved. Nobody gets offended. They could certainly come up with some very interesting uniforms.

    • yahmule - Apr 3, 2014 at 7:12 PM

      A triumphant return of the Spiders would be outstanding. Some arachnophobes would take issue, perhaps certain winged insect preservation groups, but the gear would indeed rock.

  10. Bob - Apr 3, 2014 at 9:09 PM

    Tired story.

    • jimeejohnson - Apr 4, 2014 at 7:58 PM

      Beat it.

  11. lawson1974 - Apr 4, 2014 at 4:31 AM

    Craig, do you ever actually write about baseball

    • jimeejohnson - Apr 4, 2014 at 7:58 PM

      I think you’re lying.

  12. dareesecpa - Apr 4, 2014 at 2:29 PM

    Never in my life have I associated Chief Wahoo with any “Native American” tribe.It has always been the logo for the Cleveland Indians.

    If anything, I am offended by “native Americans” absconding the term “Native American”. I was born here, so that makes me a native American just as much as a member of the Seminole tribe is.

    For anyone to mistake Chief Wahoo for a real person, they should have their eyesight checked.If you want to get rid of Chief Wahoo, change the name of the team.

    • jimeejohnson - Apr 4, 2014 at 7:58 PM

      Bet you are some European immigrant’s kid.

  13. campcouch - Apr 5, 2014 at 7:22 AM

    Modify Chief Wahoo. Bring it in line with the Blackhawks or Redskin’s logos. I grew up with Wahoo,but I’m not so much tied to him that I couldn’t stomach an alteration. I’d miss his happy face but I rather they humanize him instead of erasing him and using a red C as a logo.

  14. hockeywizardbill - Apr 5, 2014 at 1:06 PM

    how did craig burn his mouth? he wanted to eat the pizza before it was cool

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