For Pete's Sake

Indians announce they’ll stop using Chief Wahoo logo

This June 26, 2015 photo shows the Cleveland Indians logo on a jersey.
This June 26, 2015 photo shows the Cleveland Indians logo on a jersey. The Associated Press

The Cleveland Indians, who have been criticized for using their Chief Wahoo logo, will not use the symbol on uniforms beginning in the 2019 season.

The team made the announcement Monday on its website.

According to the Medina (Ohio) Post, the first Chief Wahoo logo, which is a cartoon version of a Native American, was worn by the Indians in 1947. Protests about the Indians’ use of the logo have intensified in recent years, and there were complaints during the 2016 World Series, which Cleveland lost to the Cubs.

“Major League Baseball is committed to building a culture of diversity and inclusion throughout the game,” baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement on the Indians’ website. “Over the past year, we encouraged dialogue with the Indians organization about the club’s use of the Chief Wahoo logo. During our constructive conversations, (owner) Paul Dolan made clear that there are fans who have a longstanding attachment to the logo and its place in the history of the team.

“Nonetheless, the club ultimately agreed with my position that the logo is no longer appropriate for on-field use in Major League Baseball, and I appreciate Mr. Dolan’s acknowledgment that removing it from the on-field uniform by the start of the 2019 season is the right course.”

The Indians dropped Chief Wahoo as their main logo and went to a capital “C” in 2014, according to sportslogos.net.

“We have consistently maintained that we are cognizant and sensitive to both sides of the discussion,” Dolan said in a statement on the team’s website. “While we recognize many of our fans have a long-standing attachment to Chief Wahoo, I’m ultimately in agreement with Commissioner Manfred’s desire to remove the logo from our uniforms in 2019.”

According to the Indians, “the logo will still have a limited retail presence in Northeast Ohio and Goodyear, Ariz. In order to maintain control of the trademark, ensuring that another group could not seize it and profit, the Indians needed to retain some level of retail involving the logo.”

Pete Grathoff: 816-234-4330, @pgrathoff

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