Farewell to the Chief: After decades, the Cleveland Indians finally change their controversial logo

Sreya Kumar

When history teacher and baseball enthusiast Robbie Hoffman was scrolling through his news feed, an article stuck out to him: “Cleveland Indians removing Chief Wahoo logo for the 2019 season.” Curious, he clicked on the article wondering why the pro sport team was making this move after decades of not changing it.

“The term ‘Indian’ has always been tried to get out of mascots and logos,” Hoffman said. “The concept of getting rid of [misrepresentation of Native Americans in the sports world] has [always] been a big thing in American society.”

Titled “Chief Wahoo,” the Cleveland Indians first adopted this logo in 1938. Hoffman says that teams from Fremont HS and Stanford, who were once both the Indians, have changed their names or logos after the controversies that come with it. He believes that the reason why the Indians were so late to jump on the bandwagon is because of money.

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After 80 years, the Indians bid farewell to Chief Wahoo. Accodring to The New York Times, the reason for this removal is due to the fact that it’s no longer appropriate for representing the team.

“The Cleveland Indians make a lot of money off that logo,” Hoffman said. “If they change their logo, it’s gonna cause them a ton of money. It’s gonna affect them in sales of their hats, their uniforms and all those things. Pro sports, it’s a business.”

However, despite the Indians being a reputable baseball team, this change hasn’t garnered a lot of traction. Sophomore Anagha Math believes that the lack of traction is due to the lack of knowledge of this problem in the sports world and media outcry. She also expresses that the population of Native Americans living in Cupertino, isn’t the problem.

“It’s the lack of knowledge about the problem,” Math said. “I feel like there would be a lot of backlash if more people knew about the situation. [However,] California is a moderately democratic state so even if there are less Native Americans here, [and] I feel like we will try to support them.”

Sophomore Lakshanyaa Ganesh, on the other hand, was never a big sports fan. However, she sees herself as a firm believer in human rights and equality for all. When she first saw the logo, she was appalled since she thought of it as something from a cartoon rather than a logo that represented a reputable baseball team.

Using social media, Ganesh helps bring awareness to stigmas such as mental health, by publicly showing her support for different campaigns. She believes that rise in social media was one of the factors as to why the logo was changed.

“We live in a time where social justice is more prominent than it has been in [many] years,” Ganesh said. “Especially with social media, people have more of a voice and more of a way to express their feelings, [and they] can do something now about things that they believe in.”

According to most new sites, The public has mostly received this issue well, as many baseball enthusiasts, like Hoffman himself, are pleased that the team will no longer be associated with the racist logo. Looking back, Hoffman hopes that more of such controversial issues will be put to an end in the sports world.

“I think [this issue] is starting to cause more controversy,” Hoffman said. “It’s always been an issue but it’s always been silenced. Now, I think it’s time. People are speaking up more and are hoping for change.”