Opinion: Chief Wahoo needs to stay until the rest go


Sophomore multimedia journalism major, Jack Kopanski, on Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016.

Jack Kopanski

As another Major League Baseball season dawns in Ohio, the perennial argument about whether the Cleveland Indians should remove or change their logo, Chief Wahoo, resurfaces. Let me start this by saying that I completely understand the reasoning behind wanting to remove Chief Wahoo. I, however, am still in favor of keeping the mascot.

Since 1932, when first appearing in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Chief Wahoo has been the emblematic face of Cleveland’s baseball team.

Believe it or not, though, it was actually worse than it is now.

While the logo itself still is not as politically correct as many would like it to be in 2017, there is still so much connection between it, the team and lifelong, die-hard Cleveland fans.

The strongest factor in my assertion that Chief Wahoo should stay is simply that there are currently bigger fish to fry when it comes to controversial logos or team names.

Look no further than the Washington Redskins.

The team that has been under arguably the most criticism for their name and logo and rightfully so. What is mascaraed as “history,” is nothing more than a blatant and obvious racial slur that team owner Dan Snyder has said on numerous occasions will “never” change.

Look, then, to college football where the Florida State Seminoles take things a step further.

Before every home game, there is a “mascot” who rides in on a horse and spikes down a flaming spear at midfield, all while dressed for the part. As if that wasn’t enough, fans will “tomahawk chop” during the game to the beat of a very Native American-sounding drum.

It doesn’t stop there, though, as there are team names like this all throughout sports. Alongside the Redskins, the NFL features the Kansas City Chiefs, the MLB welcomes the Atlanta Braves along with the Indians, and one of the premiere NHL franchises is named the Chicago Blackhawks.

I’m not saying there isn’t a problem with racially insensitive mascots in sports.

I will be disappointed should Chief Wahoo ever be changed (I am almost assured it will), but you won’t see me staging any angry rallies to bring it back. What will get me angry though, is if Chief Wahoo is the first domino to fall when it comes to changing team names and logos.

It’s an anomaly that the Redskins’ name has survived as long as it has, and if Wahoo ends up getting changed before the Washington Racial Slurs, that would be a travesty.

Let’s start by removing what is nothing more than a hateful derogatory term and move from there.

Jack Kopanski is an assigning editor, contact him at [email protected].