The Cleveland Indians are ditching their controversial Chief Wahoo logo in 2019.
Major League Baseball announced Monday that the polarizing Native American mascot is coming off Cleveland’s jersey sleeves and caps after the upcoming season, a decision that was made mutually between the league and the team.
“Major League Baseball is committed to building a culture of diversity and inclusion throughout the game,” commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. “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, (Indians part owner and CEO) 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,” he added. “Nonetheless, the club ultimately agreed with my position that the logo is no longer appropriate for on-field use in Major League Baseball, and I appreciate Mr. Dolan’s acknowledgement that removing it from the on-field uniform by the start of the 2019 season is the right course.”
Chief Wahoo, the grinning, red-faced caricature with big white teeth, has been criticized as racist and derogatory to Native Americans.
Manfred began talks with Cleveland ownership to drop the mascot last April, indicating in October that it was on his offseason agenda.
Dolan said that though some fans may still prefer Chief Wahoo to the team’s newer block ‘C’ logo, it will nevertheless no longer have a place on the diamond.
“We have consistently maintained that we are cognizant and sensitive to both sides of the discussion,” Dolan said. “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.”