The Cleveland Indians announced Monday that the baseball team would eliminate its controversial Chief Wahoo logo from its hats and jerseys by 2019.
While the team and Major League Baseball reached an agreement to remove the logo from the team’s uniform, the Indians team name will remain unchanged, Cleveland.com reports.
In recent years – following outcry that both the Indians’ and the Washington Redskins’ team name and logo are insensitive to Native Americans – the Indians promised to phase out but not eliminate the Chief Wahoo logo, which the team introduced in the late 1940s.
The Indians previously stated in 2016 that the logo would be demoted to the team’s “secondary” logo; while the Indians’ hats now simply had a “C” on them, Chief Wahoo still appeared on the jerseys’ sleeve and other merchandising. “[The team has] no plans to get rid of Chief Wahoo,” Indians co-owner Larry Dolan said in November 2016. Dolan owns the Indians alongside his son Paul, who serves as the team’s chairman and CEO.
“We have consistently maintained that we are cognizant and sensitive to both sides of the discussion,” Paul Dolan said in a statement Monday. “While we recognize many of our fans have a longstanding attachment to Chief Wahoo, I’m ultimately in agreement with Commissioner Manfred’s desire to remove the logo from our uniforms in 2019.”
Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred added in a statement Monday, “Major League Baseball is committed to building a culture of diversity and inclusion throughout the game,” said Commissioner Manfred. “Over the past year, we encouraged dialogue with the Indians organization about the Club’s use of the Chief Wahoo logo. During our constructive conversations, Paul Dolan made clear that there are fans who have a longstanding attachment to the logo and its place in the history of the team.”
Under the agreement – which MLB helped facilitate by awarding Cleveland the 2019 All-Star Game – the Indians will continue to own the copyright to Chief Wahoo, with the logo still maintaining a presence on the local level, Cleveland.com writes.