Indians to Stop Using 'Chief Wahoo' Logo on Uniforms Starting in 2019 Season

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJanuary 29, 2018

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 11:  Cody Allen #37 talks to pitching coach Mickey Callaway #13 of the Cleveland Indians on the mound in the ninth inning against the New York Yankees in Game Five of the American League Divisional Series at Progressive Field on October 11, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Jason Miller/Getty Images

Major League Baseball announced Monday that Cleveland would stop using the Chief Wahoo logo on its uniforms and on any banners or signs in Progressive Field starting in the 2019 season, according to David Waldstein of the New York Times.

Commissioner Rob Manfred noted the organization "ultimately agreed with my position that the logo is no longer appropriate for on-field use in Major League Baseball, and I appreciate Mr. [Paul] Dolan's acknowledgment that removing it from the on-field uniform by the start of the 2019 season is the right course."

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic shared the statements from the commissioner and Dolan, the organization's chairman and chief executive:

Many have long considered Chief Wahoo wildly offensive and racist, though a subset of Cleveland fans has resisted changes to the logo, which was introduced in 1948. As Waldstein noted, Cleveland has used the logo far less frequently in recent years, though until Monday's announcement the team hadn't abandoned it altogether.

Waldstein added that "Consumers will still be able to purchase items with the logo on them at the team's souvenir shops in the stadium and at retail outlets in the northern Ohio market, but those items will not be available for sale on MLB's website."

Cleveland, in turn, will maintain the trademark for the logo. That allows the club to profit off its sale but also means it controls how the logo is circulated, alongside MLB. If the team lost that trademark, another party could've circulated the logo as it saw fit, per Waldstein.

The team's continued use of the Indians nickname remains controversial, though there is no indication it will be willing to change its moniker anytime soon. Paul Hoynes of Cleveland.com reported that a name change was never discussed with Major League Baseball.

Cleveland joins the Washington Redskins as the two professional organizations in the United States with nicknames that many people have said are racially insensitive to Native Americans. The Atlanta Braves' "tomahawk chop" celebration has also remained divisive.

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