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The nation's largest Native American organization is disputing MLB commissioner Rob Manfred's reasoning on why the Atlanta Braves' nickname and its "tomahawk chop" fan ritual should be allowed to continue.
Calling it a local issue, Manfred said Tuesday the Native American community in the region is "fully supportive of the Braves’ program, including the chop."
“For me, that’s kind of the end of the story,’’ he added.
However, the National Congress of American Indians countered that statement on Wednesday saying, "Nothing can be further from the truth."
Noting how MLB markets the game nationally and internationally, NCAI president Fawn Sharp said the Braves' name, logo and the chop "are meant to depict and caricature not just one tribal community but all Native people, and that is certainly how baseball fans and Native people everywhere interpret them."
NCAI reiterates its longstanding opposition to the Atlanta @Braves' mascot and “tomahawk chop” fan ritual as the team plays in the @MLB #WorldSeries.
Read NCAI President Fawn Sharp’s full statement: https://t.co/pPWkoziRie#NotYourMascot pic.twitter.com/N3RxEEASLs
— National Congress of American Indians (@NCAI1944) October 27, 2021
The Braves frequently point to their partnership with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians as proof of the support they have from the Native American community. However, other tribes and Native American groups have not been as accepting.
The NCAI, which calls itself the oldest, largest and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization in the country, said it has "repeatedly and unequivocally made our position clear" that Native American mascots and rituals such as the chop "have no place in American society."
The group is calling on the Braves to change their nickname – as the Cleveland Guardians are doing – and for Fox Broadcasting to stop showing fans doing the tomahawk chop during this year's World Series games in Atlanta.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Native American group responds to Rob Manfred's Braves, chop comments