The polarizing Chief Wahoo logo that has adorned the hats, uniforms and merchandise the Cleveland Indians since 1947 will be no more. The Indians have today announced that the controversial logo will be removed from the team’s uniforms for the 2019 season.
They will continue to wear the Wahoo logo on its uniform sleeves and hats during the 2018 season, and the club will still sell merchandise featuring the mascot in Northeast Ohio. According to ESPN, the team must maintain a retail presence so that MLB and the Indians can keep ownership the trademark.
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The fight over the red-faced caricature has been going on for years and the team has gradually moved away from the logo, which includes removing Chief Wahoo signs in and around Progressive Field, and introducing a new block “C” logo.
“Major League Baseball is committed to building a culture diversity and inclusion throughout the game,” MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. “Over the past year, we encouraged dialogue with the Indians organization about the club’s use the Chief Wahoo logo. During our constructive conversations, Paul Dolan made clear that there are fans who have a longstanding attachment to the logo and its place in the history 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 acknowledgement that removing it from the on-field uniform by the start the 2019 season is the right course.”
According to ESPN, every year, groups Native Americans and their supporters have protested outside the stadium in downtown Cleveland before the home opener in hopes not only getting the team to abolish Chief Wahoo but to change the Indians’ nickname.