“PC mascot police” in the media were quick to write Chief Wahoo’s “obituary” as soon as the Cleveland Indians’ season ended Monday. When Houston swept the Tribe 3-0 in an America League Division Series, it also brought an end to the 71-year history of Cleveland’s Chief Wahoo mascot and logo. Media have been demandng the head of Chief Wahoo, as well as the end of the Washington Redskins’ nickname, for a long time.
Jacob Bogage, a Washington Post national sports writer and blogger wrote that Wahoo “expired” late Monday after the team was eliminated from the AL playoffs. He did not note the cause of “death” — political correctness.
“Officially, Wahoo was 71 years old, though accounts vary on his exact age,” Bogage reports. “Some baseball historians say the chief could have been as old as 119 or as young as 66. His demise was inevitable since January, when Indians owner Paul Dolan and MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred agreed the team would no longer use the Chief Wahoo Indian head logo after the 2018 season. The commissioner said last January that the Wahoo logo “is no longer appropriate for on-field use.”
“Wahoo was both beloved and reviled through his life, as either the familiar and affable face of an up-and-down baseball team, or a racist caricature of an already marginalized Native American population,” wrote Bogage.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper, which helped create Wahoo in a time pre-dating political correctness, was also calling “for the team to purge him years earlier,” Bogage writes. That paper’s editorial board in 2014 called for a “clean break” from the ever-happy, smiling Wahoo. The Indians’ most recent Hall of Fame inductee, Jim Thome, requested his plaque in Cooperstown not include Wahoo.
This season, on his “farewell tour,” Wahoo was demoted from his former presence on the team’s caps and batting helmets to jersey sleeves and occasional hat appearances.
There is evidence suggesting Wahoo may be the latest victim of sports blackmail. Sports events have been used to blackmail professional sports teams, colleges and even states when they don’t surrender to PC demands. Cleveland just happens to be in line for the 2019 baseball all-star game, and by giving in to the “PC mascot police,” the City of Cleveland will not endure the same fate that North Carolina faced when it defied the PC crowd. North Carolina lost NCAA basketball tournament games and the NBA all-star game in 2017 after its legislature bucked the LGBT agenda and passed a law to protect women and girls from men in public ladies’ restrooms and locker rooms. It certainly appears the Indians went wobbly in the knee and abandoned Wahoo in order to get the all-star game.
The Tribe will, however, continue to cash in on Wahoo loyalists by selling merchandise to retain ownership of the trademark, the Associated Press reports. Definitely not good enough for the American Indian Movement of Ohio. Its executive director, Philip Yenyo said:
“They should be commended for taking this step, [but] they took a baby step. They’re still not going far enough. I don’t understand waiting until 2019 to get rid of it. [And] the nickname has to go, too. If they don’t get rid of the ‘Indians’ name, our culture and our spirituality are still going to be mocked by fans. They’re still going to be dressed up in red face and wearing feathers.”
Over on the Left coast, Seattle Times staff reporter Ryan Blethen also questioned why it took so long to send Wahoo to the happy hunting ground:
Finally, the Five Thirty-Eight blog’s Hayley Munguia searched MascotDB and found 2,129 sports teams that still use Indian nicknames, like: Braves, Chiefs, Indians, Orangemen, Raiders, Redmen, Reds, Redskins, Savages, Squaws, Tribe and Warriors, Apaches, Arapahoe, Aztecs, Cherokees, Chickasaws, Chinooks, Chippewas, Choctaws, Comanches, Eskimos, Mohawks, Mohicans, Seminoles, Sioux and Utes.
That’s a lot of schools, towns and states that could potentially be blackmailed by the “PC mascot police” into surrendering their “offensive” nicknames.