Should the Cleveland baseball team just rip that Band-Aid off?

Jason Miller

There's no official word yet, but sure seems like the Indians are switching their primary logo -- you know, the one that shows up on Web pages and chyrons and such -- from Chief Wahoo to that old-fashioned block-C. As Paul Lukas writes, this would be perfectly consistent with the franchise's obvious efforts in recent years to deëmphasize the Chief, (for what should be obvious reasons by now).

Does this piecemeal approach make any sense, though? Lukas wonders:

The Indians appear to be trying to have it both ways, easing Wahoo off to the glue factory while maintaining that they're doing nothing of the sort.

You can understand the position they're caught in. They don't want to anger their fan base, many members of whom are emotionally attached to Wahoo. But they also can't deny the reality that ethnic caricatures such as Wahoo are harder and harder to defend in a modern, diverse society.

That's a tough spot, but taking baby steps and then willfully denying the obvious seems like a bad approach. Sometimes it's better just to rip off the Band-Aid and do what needs to be done. Say what you want about Daniel Snyder, but at least he hasn't given any mixed signals regarding his feelings about his team's name and logo.

I can say anything I want about Daniel Snyder?

Kidding. I'm sure he's a stand-up guy with a blind spot (or two).

I have no idea if "taking baby steps and then willfully denying the obvious" really is the wrong approach. Granted, it's frustrating when anyone willfully denies the obvious. If I were an Indians fans, I don't know how I would feel about Chief Wahoo, but I would be insulted by this willful denying.

On the other hand, it's clear that the Indians a) would like to dump Wahoo, but b) don't want to anger a significant percentage of their fans all at once. Practically, switching primary logos means less Wahoo on the national stage, but essentially the same Wahoo at home. Better, maybe, to anger a small percentage of the locals here, a small percentage there, and figure if you keep the percentages small enough there won't be any real blowback?

I don't know. I don't think anybody knows. I don't think anybody's ever tried this before. I do think that in the long term, Wahoo's going away. I also think that without a great deal of care and process -- you know, like this -- the actual "Indians" name is terminally ill, too.

Yeah, the old Band-Aid rip is probably the best thing. But, you know, baseball teams are run by billionaires, and billionaires aren't wild about taking advice from people like us. Especially when there's probably zero financial gain involved. We should probably just applaud the Indians for making some progress, however glacial.

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