Braves Ban “Screaming Indian” Hat


In December, the batting practice caps for  MLB teams were unveiled on the website Uni Watch. Most teams did simple variations on their logos and colors, but the Atlanta Braves’ new logo caused some controversy. The team chose to feature a “screaming Indian,” which many people felt was offensive to Native Americans.

This logo was retired in 1989, along with mascot “Chief Noc-a-Homa,” who wore traditional Native American tribal dress and paint. It is unclear what made the Braves want to bring back the logo, but they have since changed their position. After two months of controversy, the Braves announced they will use the traditional Atlanta “A,” rather than the Native American caricature.

Many members of the media spoke out in support of the Brave’s decision including national baseball writer, Craig Calcaterra. He wrote, “We’ll never know if public pressure and the negative reaction following the leak of the other design had anything to do with the choice, but it’s good to see that the Braves made the right choice.”

While this may be a step in the right direction, there are still many issues surrounding the use of Native American names and caricatures in sports. The Cleveland Indians are a team frequently in hot water for their mascot. They recently released new merchandise with an old logo of Chief Wahoo featuring a stereotypical Native American image with a large hooked noise and feathers.

The Washington Redskins, Kansas City Chiefs, and Chicago Blackhawks are just a few more examples of schools that use Native American mascots and logos. There has been debate over renaming these teams for many years, but so far no action has been taken. The one exception is the Florida State Seminoles, who were given permission by the Seminole Tribe to use their name.

The Atlanta Braves made the right decision, and it will be interesting to see if their decision will start a trend. There is no reason to disrespect a group of people by using offensive logos and mocking their traditions.

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About The Richard A. Maxwell Sport Media Project

The Richard A. Maxwell Sport Media Project is a hub for teaching, research, and service related to sport media. The Project benefits students and faculty at Bowling Green State University, and offers outreach and media consulting to area and regional groups that work with student-athletes. Through collaborative efforts of the Sport Management program and the School of Media and Communication, BGSU students have the opportunity to learn such skills as sports writing, reporting, broadcasting, announcing, public relations, media relations, communication management and production. Faculty and other scholars have access to resources about the commercial and sociological aspects of sport.

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