Too many Kansas City Chiefs fans love to engage in the boorish and insulting tomahawk chop while celebrating before, during and after football games.
Here’s how this silly behavior looked Saturday prior to the Chiefs’ playoff victory against the Houston Texans.
It’s especially embarrassing that the chop is still popular as the nation’s sports fans focus this week on the Chiefs’ playoff game Saturday, when they visit the New England Patriots, the defending National Football League champions.
Now others around the country will just have more legitimate reasons to criticize Chiefs fans. As a USA Today writer aptly noted last week, “The Tomahawk chop is so much more offensive than a nickname as it’s active, not passive.”
Plenty of people have laid out the good reasons over the years for why many Native Americans don’t like the chop, mostly because it really has nothing to do with their history and is a “clear mockery of Indian culture.” The celebration gesture also is infamously used by fans of the Atlanta Braves and Florida State teams.
The Chiefs organization, to their discredit, have refused to actively campaign against the chop. Instead, they encourage it with the music played at Arrowhead Stadium, even as they have engaged with Indian groups on more perfunctory actions, such as blessing the Chiefs’ drum at the stadium.
Yes, this is an age-old debate in Kansas City. Some fans properly see the distasteful practice as something they won’t engage in; others defend it as just good fun.
(And please don’t get me started on the argument that “the Chiefs were named after former Mayor H. Roe Bartle’s nickname.” Team officials going back decades have used Native American signs, etc., to promote the club.)
Plenty of Americans are trying to get the Washington Redskins to change their highly offensive name. One day, they might just succeed.
It would show great progress for Kansas City sports fans to drop the silly tomahawk chop at Chiefs games.
Just don’t hold your breath that this kind of respectable action will be taken.