There is a move afoot for newspapers and other news organizations to refer to the Washington Redskins as “Washington,” or to otherwise avoid using the name of the team which many people consider to be an epithet. Now at least one newspaper is extending that practice to racist imagery as well. The New York Daily News:
Yesterday, the News published this great editorial about the Washington team name. Today, we can also tell you that the paper will no longer use the Cleveland Indians’ logo, Chief Wahoo.
Another obvious and positive development, and one that won’t prevent us from continuing to call on the team and others in media to do the same. In reporting on this issue in the recent past, it became clear to me that Native American groups consider Chief Wahoo offensive, which is enough for the rest of us to deem it inappropriate.
We at HBT have refrained from using Wahoo in stories about the Indians for several years now (it’s still used, occasionally in stories about the logo itself). It seems like an easy decision, especially considering the team itself no longer considers Wahoo its primary logo. Just because the Indians still put it on hats, uniforms and merchandise doesn’t mean anyone else has to go along with it. If a team put a picture of a guy in blackface on its caps, no one would run it. Why Wahoo?
Here’s hoping that more news outlets make the same choice the Daily News does.
In other news, I put the number of comments before we see someone making a dumb argument about this somehow violating the Indians’ First Amendment rights at, oh, 8.
Andrew Baggarly of the Mercury News reports that the Giants have signed catcher Nick Hundley. It’s a major league deal worth $2 million.
Hundley, who is 33, but who seems like he’s been in the bigs for about 27 years, hit .260/.320/.439 with 10 homers in 83 games for the Rockies last season. Obviously he will be the backup given the presence of Buster Posey.
Major League Baseball has experienced inconsistent progress in its efforts at promoting diversity and social responsibility in recent years despite making it a league priority. Today it has announced several changes in its leadership structure in these areas, with Commissioner Manfred saying, “As the sport of Jackie Robinson and Roberto Clemente, we have a responsibility to uphold and honor their legacies, especially in ensuring that our sport and business practices are as inclusive, diverse and socially-conscious as possible.”
To that end:
- Billy Bean has been promoted to Vice President and Special Assistant to the Commissioner. This is a newly-created and elevated position in which Bean will continue his efforts at promoting human rights issues important to Major League Baseball, with a particular focus on LGBT and anti-bullying efforts. He has done such work since 2014 as its Ambassador for Inclusion, but putting him at the vice presidential level and having him answer directly to Commissioner Manfred increases his profile and that of his mission;
- Renée Tirado, has been promoted to Vice President of Talent Acquisition and Diversity & Inclusion. Tirado had previously served as Senior Director of Recruitment. She will direct the implementation of recruitment plans and procedures to support MLB’s staffing objectives and will oversee MLB’s Diversity Pipeline Program. As you may recall, Major League Baseball has struggled mightily in these effort in recent years, and has admitted as much; and
- Melanie LeGrande has been promoted to Vice President of Social Responsibility. She previously served as MLB’s Director of Community Affairs. Her job will be to develop and enhance the initiatives that support MLB’s position in the community and oversee MLB’s community investments, nonprofit/non-governmental organization partnerships, large-scale disaster relief efforts and employee volunteer engagement.
Manfred said, “the promotions of Billy, Renée and Melanie reflect our commitment to have strong, innovative leadership in place that aligns our industry objectives with a desire to be effective corporate citizens.”
While all of these are current employees who have served in roughly similar roles. A business’ organizational chart says much about how much that business values various functions and initiatives. In keeping with Manfred’s comments, that all three of these people have been promoted to the vice presidential level is a strong signal from MLB about what it wants.
Now all it has to do is follow through and get what it wants.