Ed Carroll of Cleveland Jewish News reports* that Indians owner Paul Dolan spoke at an event last week and, during a Q&A with audience members, revealed that Chief Wahoo is either on the way out or on its way to extreme marginalization. Dolan said that this is happening “faster than we’ve ever liked” because of the involvement of Commissioner Manfred. He characterized the timetable on all of that as “within a couple of years.”
As we’ve noted, Manfred and, by extension, Major League Baseball recently changed its stance on Wahoo from one in which he merely understood that some people find the logo offensive to having a clear desire for the Indians to chuck it. As Carroll notes, Dolan prefers some middle ground approach but it sounds as if there is more pressure being brought to bear on the Indians by Manfred than Dolan expected.
I’m not sure that there is a “middle ground” on racist caricatures. I’m not sure that anyone is free and clear of criticism if they, say, have the players not wear a sambo character on their caps yet sell shirts and stuff with it on them in the team store off the main concourse. I’m not sure how, if one team is banning fans for life for uttering racial slurs, another team is totally cool to let fans dress up in racially insensitive costumes, complete with redface. Racism is racism and wrong is wrong.
I guess Dolan thinks he’s going to get to that sort of compromise under pressure from Major League Baseball. If MLB can pressure Dolan like that, however, it ought to use that pressure to completely eliminate the logo, not to simply marginalize it.
*UPDATE: Originally this post said that Vince Grzegorek of Cleveland Scene reported Dolan’s comments. There was a post about this there, but Carroll and Cleveland Jewish News originally reported Dolan’s comments.