After rumors swirled that the Cleveland Indians were dumping the potentially offensive Chief Wahoo logo in favor of the "block C" logo as their primary one in 2014, it is turning out that will likely not be the case.
It's really a shame, too, because it is time for the Indians to at least put Chief Wahoo on the back burner or just retire the logo altogether. These are three reasons why the Indians are making a mistake by choosing not to deemphasize Chief Wahoo:
The Chief Wahoo Logo Has Worn Out Its Welcome
The current incarnation of the Chief Wahoo logo has been in use since 1951 and is a symbol of a bygone era.
The red skin, large nose, and toothy grin of Chief Wahoo not only makes the logo offensive to Native Americans, but it also makes it one of the ugliest logos in all of professional sports. If you look at it, it's just not a logo that is pleasing to the eye. The block C, on the other hand, is simple and has a classic look that the Indians can rely on for years to come.
While some Chief Wahoo loyalists will argue about the tradition of the logo, the reality is that the Chief is nowhere near as iconic as the New York Yankees' "NY" logo or the "C" of the Cincinnati Reds.
The Block C Logo Is Already Popular With Fans
In the past, some teams have scrapped a long-serving logo in the name of progress, and the results have not always been pretty.
The Detroit Pistons and the New York Islanders are two prime examples of teams who erred by changing their imagery in the 1990s. Backlash from fans eventually forced both franchises to revert back within a few years.
The Indians will not have that problem.
The Block C logo has been a hit with Tribe fans since it was adopted in 2008. As I mentioned in a previous article on this subject, the amount of Clevelanders that wear apparel with the Block C logo is head and shoulders above the number of people I see representing Chief Wahoo in this town.
The Indians Blew A Chance To Be A Trendsetter Regarding Offensive Imagery
If Chief Wahoo was deemphasized by the Indians, it would have been the first step in eliminating offensive imagery in professional sports, and could've started a chain reaction all the way to the nation's capital.
As bad as Chief Wahoo is, the main target of Native American groups in pro sports is the Washington Redskins. The Redskins have resisted every call for the team to change its name over the years, citing the tradition of the name. If the Indians were to move away from a logo that served them for over 60 years, it would make Washington's argument of tradition ring even more hollow.
It seems that eventually all offensive imagery in professional sports will be eliminated, but Cleveland's choice not to be a trendsetter is only delaying the inevitable regarding this issue.
Shaun Heidrick is a Yahoo Contributor who has followed the Cleveland Indians for over 25 years.
- Sports & Recreation
- Cleveland Indians
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