Whenever we talk about the Cleveland Indians removing their controversial Chief Wahoo logo from their merchandise, the most frequent analogy is ripping off a bandaid. There’s going to be backlash, it’s going to hurt, but in the long run it’s for the better. You don’t want to leave that bandaid on your wound until it festers, and you don’t want to leave an antiquated logo festering on your franchise for the next millennia.
Unless the collective thinking of the world does a sudden reversal in the next few years, Chief Wahoo’s removal is inevitable. It doesn’t matter what you, personally, think about Chief Wahoo. The Indians, Major League Baseball, and a growing number of baseball fans are realizing the racist cartoon logo for what it is. I can empathize with people who grew up looking at and living around it who can’t separate those happy memories of being at the ballpark from the real face of the logo, but it’s going to happen eventually.
Things got particularly confusing yesterday, when the New York Post incorrectly reported that the Indians were removing Chief Wahoo from all their home and away caps. After a day’s worth of unnecessary confusion, the dust settled and we now know that the Wahoo logo is only removed from the home alternate navy jerseys. The New York Post simply ran with months old news about the hideous cream jerseys (which happened to have Chief Wahoo on them) being thrown in the dumpster where they belong. From there the NYP declared that Wahoo was gone from everything. I would like that, and a lot of other baseball fans would like that, but that isn’t what is happening here. Instead, we are going to left with basically the same thing we had last season. Wahoo is on the home whites but not the road grays, and it is on the road navy alternates but not the home alternates. It will still be on the sleeve of every uniform.
So far, the big “phasing out” by the Indians has been removing Wahoo from half of an alternate jersey. And not even the half that makes sense. The only people left that might care about Chief Wahoo and see it as anything but racist are Indians fans, and even that number is shrinking by the day. But instead of leaving the logo on in front of the home crowd, the Indians are leaving it on for away games.
It’s hard to even consider this a step in the right direction. Not even did the Indians manage to piss off fans who dislike Chief Wahoo, but in the same swoop they are pissing off whatever fans are left that do like the logo by removing it from part of the uniform. It just doesn’t make any sense. Do one or the other, make a decision, rip the bandaid off.
As proud as I was of this team in the postseason, it was downright embarassing seeing some fans dressing up in the World Series.
I want to say I’m in disbelief that there are people who think this is OK. Sadly, I’m not even surprised by that. pic.twitter.com/mC2b0beHMT— Jesse Spector (@jessespector) October 27, 2016
And of course the now-infamous slow zoom of that sad racist-looking guy.
tfw yr racist and yr team is losing pic.twitter.com/a8NMsCVCON— Bill Baer (@Baer_Bill) October 27, 2016
I guess part of me hoped the added heat from the World Series appearance would push the Indians to do something meaningful, but a bigger part of me knew that wouldn’t be the case.
Jason Lukehart explained it much more eloquently last season when this whole debate came up. eventually the math is going to be right for the Indians to make a move; and when it is, they will. But at this point, though, the Indians’ indecisiveness is tilting the math against them. They’re trying to make everyone happy and making no one happy in process.