Indians, MLB 'not exactly aligned' regarding Chief Wahoo

The Cleveland Indians are working with Major League Baseball to determine the appropriate action for Chief Wahoo. The logo has been met with controversy for its stereotypical portrayal of Native Americans.

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While Cleveland has started the phase the logo out in recent years, the league seems to be pushing for more than that, according to team owner Paul Dolan. Dolan gave an interview on 1590 WAKR, saying the league and the club are trying to find a “middle ground” regarding the logo.

“We’re not exactly aligned on its future,” Dolan said. “But we will come to some understanding some time relatively soon, meaning before the start of the 2018 season and maybe sooner than that.”

Dolan also admitted he can see how the logo is offensive, but said he’s trying to find a balance that keeps long-time fans pleased.

“There’s a lot of pressure on the national scene,” Dolan said. “We may live in a little bit of a bubble in terms of how we see Chief Wahoo and if you didn’t grow up here with it and you don’t have that emotional attachment and you look at it more objectively, you can see reason why some might offended by it. And the commissioner is feeling that pressure.

“Frankly, we were—are—on a path towards further mitigating the use of it, trying to find the right balance. We are Clevelanders. We have that relationship with Chief Wahoo that so many do, but we’re empathetic to those who find some reason to be offended by it. But at the core, we do think there’s some validity to that.”

As the Akron Beacon Journal notes, the league may be putting added pressure on Cleveland to phase out the mascot with the All-Star Game set to take place in the city in 2019. The controversy over Chief Wahoo increased as the team was making a push to the World Series last year. The All-Star Game would provide yet another opportunity for the logo to be seen on a national stage.

The Chief Wahoo logo has seen increased scrutiny in recent years. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
The Chief Wahoo logo has seen increased scrutiny in recent years. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Based on Dolan’s comments, it would seem MLB is trying to push the club to get rid of the logo completely. Either that, or severely restrict its use. Considering that the team has cut down on Chief Wahoo’s use in recent years, the former seems likely, though that’s just our speculation.

As Dolan notes, a decision should come before the 2018 season at the latest. With Cleveland likely bound for the postseason again, the league could come under scrutiny once again as Chief Wahoo is again displayed on a national stage.

Controversy and complaints may have accelerated the league’s desire to get rid of the mascot last season. Another year of the same could finally be the thing that makes the league put its foot down and ban Chief Wahoo.

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik