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The Cleveland Indians Are (Sort of) Losing Their Racist-Ass Logo

After one more season with "Chief Wahoo," the baseball team will start to move on—though they will continue hawking it on merchandise.

by River Donaghey
Jan 29 2018, 9:23pm

The Cleveland Indians' signature logo is finally on its way out of American baseball.

On Monday, the MLB confirmed that the racist icon—a Native American caricature nicknamed Chief Wahoo—is "no longer appropriate for on-field use" and will be removed from the team's uniforms by the start of the 2019 season, the New York Times reported. MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred has apparently been pressing the team to retire the cartoonish rendition for the past year, and team owner Paul Dolan is now, at long last, at least rhetorically on board.

"We have consistently maintained that we are cognizant and sensitive to both sides of the discussion," Dolan said in a statement issued by the League. "While we recognize many of our fans have a long-standing attachment to Chief Wahoo, I'm ultimately in agreement with Commissioner Manfred's desire to remove the logo from our uniforms in 2019."

Wahoo has been the Indians' logo for the past 70 years, after the original version was first designed by a 17-year-old artist back in 1947. And while the image will no longer be included on the uniforms the Indians wear on the field—after one more season, anyway—fans who still feel a deep-seated and not at all problematic desire to rep racist stereotypes will be able to buy merchandise featuring the logo at Progressive Stadium and in select stores. The official MLB website, however, will not be selling them.

Meanwhile, longtime advocates of the change were left wondering why the new uniforms couldn't be arranged between now and opening day of the 2018 season in April.

“Why wait?” Phillip Yenyo, executive director of the American Indian Movement of Ohio, asked the Times. “If you are going to go this far and get rid of it, why not do it now? All they are doing is testing it out, because the name has to go, too. The nickname absolutely has to go. It’s not just the logo."

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This article originally appeared on VICE US.

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