I live in Cleveland where the local pro baseball team is named The Cleveland Indians. Their logo looks like this:

I'd really love for my hometown's baseball team to change its name. 

Somehow, the problem with this sort of naming and imaging convention escapes most people. In fact, many will defend it as positive due its referencing the bravery and fierceness of the Native Americans. Maybe the problem could be made more plain if instead of a logo based on the incorrectly named American "Indians" we used one based on a Hindu warrior instead (sadly, I couldn't find an example through Google). 

Or how about a total overhaul changing the name and the ethnicity. The Cleveland Jews with a logo of a grinning rabbi?

Strangely, this controversy rarely comes up in Cleveland, though it's going on right now fueled by a letter from the baseball commissioner to congress defending the practice.

Maybe the Redskins should consider changing it's name to the Washington Jews. Cleveland can go after some other ethnicity.

What do you think?

Tags: controversy, mascot, sports, team

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I can understand the Cleveland Indians, because its an odd way of paying homage to the Native American population. But the Washington Redskins is way out of line. That's just down right racism, considering the negative connotation towards the word "redskin". Over the years many of Native American groups of have tried suing the NFL but they all failed miserably.

If they ever changed their names to anything regarding to Jews, oh boy you know we would never hear the end of that. We would be branded the scarlet letter "A" for AntiSemite and AIPAC would tear America a new rear end for the next 20 generations. 

Funny how some groups can get away with stuff while others are left stranded to bear the brunt of it. It's all about the money. Money talks. Native Americans do not have nearly enough lobbying power in politics to get things like this changed.

But then again they shouldn't need to because regular people like us should be standing up for them against these idiotic injustices that shouldn't even exist in modern day times. 

Suppose a baseball team formed on an Indian reservation and named their team The White People or The Palefaces or The Whiteskins. Only when you turn it around like that do you see what's so odd and troubling about this naming convention.

There's an additional problem with the Cleveland Indians and that's their cartoon logo, lovingly named "Chief Wahoo." He wears a goofy grin kind of like a Black Sambo image of a black man with a silly "Yes, massa," house niggerish kind of expression.

Since calling Native Americans "Indians" is a misnomer, perhaps the logo should be changed to show a Swami.

That is a good point. The Native Americans should never be called Indians.

Oddly enough Russel Means of the American Indian Movement (which is pretty radical) insists on it, claiming it derives from "In dios" (in God) rather than a mistaken identification with India.


Russell Means probably skipped class on the day they discussed how Columbus was looking for a shortcut to India when he bumped into The New World.

The owner of the Redskins, Dan Snyder, has publicly adopted a "hell freezes over" stance on changing the name of the NFL's third most-valuable franchise. I guess he figures it'll hurt the value of his investment (not that having one lousy 'W' in the playoffs since he bought the team in 1999 is helping him very much either) especially the way those RG3 jerseys are flying off the shelves in record breaking numbers. Ka-ching!

But then again, once Synder gets a foot stuffed up his ass in federal trademark court, he may reconsider, which is probably why he's looking into changing the name of the team from a $ocially $ensitive Republican per$pective.

Federal Trademark law invalidates trademarks if they are "disparaging, scandalous contemptuous, or disreputable." Susan Shown Harjo sued to cancel any and all NFL trademarks pertaining to the Washington Redskins and in 1999, the same year Snyder bought the team, a federal court canceled the trademarks "on the grounds that the subject marks may disparage Native Americans and may bring them into contempt or disrepute."

Dan Snyder and the Redskins appealed and won on grounds that Hario waited too long to bring suit. Now Hario has found some younger Native Americans, who cannot be dismissed for waiting 20 years because they are under 20, and filed a brand new lawsuit to get the trademarks dismissed. It might take a while, but it'll get there again, and this time Snyder's got no fancy lawyer trick to stop it. 

Picture it. Dan Snyder sits there, scratching at the window like a sad little puppy, holding onto his not-trademarked-anymore Redskins name. Meanwhile the RG3 Redskin jerseys fly off the shelves, featuring the Redskin logo and team name. The millions of dollars generated from their sales lands in other people's pockets. It's all perfectly legal and Dan Snyder can't do a thing about it. Having trouble picturing that? So is Dan Snyder, apparently.

So racism comes crashing down. And why? Because the millions of dollars of corporate profits that propped it up for all these years are yanked out from under it.

Ahhhh. It's beautiful.

I'm sorry, you don't pay homage to a whole race of proud ancient people, a race your society beat into the ground generations ago, by naming a sports team after them. Indians or Redskins or Savages or whatever; all you're doing is honoring the words and terms society has learned to associate with a people they know nothing about. A forgotten people, who were in the path of the white-man's progress and murderous-greed; people who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. But unlike the ancient history some folks can't let go of; the history of the Native American is forgotten like last years long-distance phone plan. 
You can't say you're showing respect by using their persona, their mental-image to earn billions of dollars for the owners, the players, the media and the gamblers who couldn't care less who these people were. 
But then we just pick and chose what we should or should not respect and remember and honor on a seasonal basis; so I guess we should just say fuck it, buy a pennant, do the wave and say "Play ball!" 

I was saying that because there is a history of US sports team naming themselves after a common or historical connection to the city/town/state they play in. 

For example

New England Patriots

New York Yankees

San Francisco 49ers

Houston Oilers (non existent now) 

Boston Celtics

Chicago Bulls (the capital of meat packing industry in the 19th and 20th century)

Indiana Pacers (Pacer is  the car that comes and sets the pace for nascar right before the race begins, and Indy 500 is the biggest Nascar race in the world)

New York Knicks (Knickerboxers - type of pants the Dutch men wore in 19th and 20th century, NY was originally colonized by the Dutch)

New York Giants - NYC's giant tall buildings

University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish (Irish immigrant soldiers fought for the Union Army and ND's third President belongs to one of the Irish Brigade as a Chaplain). 

University of Louisiana at Lafayette Ragin Cajuns

However upon stumbling on this Wiki Answer, I can see that Cleveland Indians name have nothing do with history or geography of their location rather a conformity of racial intolerance towards minorities in the roaring twenties. A very interesting read:

According to some sources, The team was dubbed the Cleveland "Naps" shortly after it's creation in 1901. This nickname was in honor of their superstar, Napoleon Lajoie. Once he left, there was a newspaper competition to pick a name. There is a dispute as to whether the fans actually voted for "Indians" or some newspaper people selected it. In any case, it was selected, and the wahoo made the emblem at a time when racism and racial insensitivity were rampant in our culture. Jews, Blacks, Italians, Irish, Asian peoples were all commonly caricatured in cartoonish, racist manners throughout the media before and during this period. By the middle of the twentieth century, however; most of the caricatures started disappearing as the fight against discrimination and racism towards these groups increased. Unfortunately, in part because there were so few Native voices left on the continent after hundreds of years of genocide, Indian views were rarely heard.

Since the 1970s when the movement to change the name and mascot beganin clveland, an old legend has re-emerged that proposes that the "Indians" name was given in honor of a Native American, Louis Sockilexus, who had been a successful Cleveland player for a couple years. A review of the newspapers of the period show that his name was never brought up during selection of the team name. The legend is just a convenient cover story to argue that the name is a tribute to Native Americans.

I agree wholeheartedly. It is the unjust image of a savage wielding a tomahawk that strikes fear into it's opponent. The bigotry and disregard for the tragic plight of true native Americans is no less than shameful. Hell, it was the white man who taught the natives the despicable practice of hair scalping; not the other way around.

Americans all should be ashamed of our treatment toward these people. And we had the gall to give  them that wonderful real estate called reservations. 

It pisses me off that there are white people who don't get why it might be offensive to name a sports team after a race of people. Is it really that difficult to empathize with Native Americans? 

Considering the treatment that the Native Americans have suffered over the generations, naming one sports team using a term for them which in and of itself might be inappropriate, is no honor.  The United States has never treated the native population with any thing other contempt and tried to exterminate them.

Name one treaty that the US government has ever honored that it made with the Native Americans.

In fact, there is one unbroken treaty with the Native Americans and, sadly, it is between some German settlers (and not the US Government) and a band of Comanches in Fredericksbug, TX. Read about it here.

The treaty is celebrated annually by the remaining German community and the Comanches.


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