Indians Owner Says Team Will Resolve Chief Wahoo Transition in 'A Couple' Years

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMay 10, 2017

CLEVELAND, OH -  JULY 30: Owner and CEO of the Cleveland Indians Paul Dolan prior to the Hall of Fame induction before the game between the Cleveland Indians and the Oakland Athletics at Progressive Field on July 30, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Jason Miller/Getty Images

During a public appearance May 3, Cleveland Indians co-owner Paul Dolan discussed the potential transition away from the Chief Wahoo logo.

According to Cleveland Jewish News' Ed Carroll (h/t Cleveland Scene's Vince Grzegorek), Dolan said he prefers to keep Chief Wahoo—albeit in a more limited capacity than its current usage. Dolan added that he expects a resolution to come within a couple of years.

Any final decision may not be solely up to Dolan. In April, MLB spokesman Pat Courtney told the New York Times' David Waldstein that MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred had met with the Indians and expressed his "desire to transition away from the Chief Wahoo logo."

"We have specific steps in an identified process and are making progress," Courtney said. "We are confident that a positive resolution will be reached that will be good for the game and the club."

During his speech, Dolan alluded to Manfred's involvement in the process: "We are mindful that there are people who are offended by it, and frankly if you leave Northeastern Ohio, it changes, the prospective on this changes. We were on some path towards a middle ground; I don't know what that path was, and that's still where we're headed, but we're headed there faster than we've ever liked because the commissioner of baseball weighed in on this."

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Chief Wahoo's critics have argued for years that the caricature is a racist depiction of a Native American, and the outcry grew with Cleveland's run to the 2016 World Series—with the Indians afforded a national television audience for nearly a month.

A Canadian citizen filed a lawsuit arguing the franchise should be unable to use either Chief Wahoo or the Indians moniker for Game 3 of the American League Division Series against the Toronto Blue Jays. A judge denied the request.

According to, Cleveland used a Native American in its logo beginning in 1928 and unveiled Chief Wahoo in 1946. The version fans have come to associate with the team arrived in 1949.