As the Washington Redskins and Cleveland Indians examine their team names and logos in contemplation of changing what many deem offensive, one other baseball team has remained outside of the debate.
The Atlanta Braves, who once spotlighted Chief Noc-a-Homa, a Native American who would emerge from a teepee and do a war dance when a team player hit a home run (he was “retired” before the 1986 season) just issued a letter that seemed defiant on the name controversy.
The Braves, along with Cleveland, Washington and such teams as the Kansas City Chiefs, Florida State Seminoles, and San Francisco 49ers, have been under pressure to change names and logos deemed offensive.
The Washington Redskins have long resisted the name change, but have now started a comprehensive review. The Cleveland Indians said Friday they’re also reconsidering their nickname.
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The Braves released a statement saying the team “honors, supports, and values the Native American community. That will never change.” The statement added that they “have much work to do on and off the field.”
The Braves, echoing other teams, claimed in recent months to have great respect and ties with Native Americans.
“We have also held meetings with our Native American Working Group which will collaborate with us on cultural issues, education and community outreach to amplify their voices and show our fans they are still proudly here,” the statement said.
“The Atlanta Braves have a meaningful commitment to honor the Native American community and we are excited about working together to ensure this happens,” the recent statement said.
Braves fans have encouraged their team by performing a “tomahawk chop” and chant. The team also passed out red foam tomahawks to aid in that support.
Cardinals pitcher Ryan Helsley, a member of the Cherokee Nation, said during last year’s National League championiship series that he found the chant insulting. That complaint resulted in the Braves halting distribution of the tomahawks.
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