After receiving widespread criticism for the team’s continued use of the Chief Wahoo mascot, the Indians have gradually cut back. They’ve adopted a block “C” on some of their hats, but as John Woodrow Cox reports for The Washington Post, the Indians still make a lot of money off of merchandise featuring Wahoo.
Cox also reports that the Indians “have no plans of making a change.” Team officials say the club will “continue to research our fan base to better understand their perception and stance on the logo.”
As ESPN’s Bomani Jones points out, the Indians are relying on people “largely unaffected” by the continued use of the logo — which is to say white men — to determine whether or not to continue using it.
The Indians are also doing what most other businesses do, which is valuing marketing over ethics. Making a buck and doing the right thing are so often mutually exclusive, but this is one case where the Indians should pick ethics over profit.
From the end of Cox’s column:
He first wore his Indian costume to a game last year, and people swarmed him for photographs. It felt good.
But [Tray] Gabriel, who is black, had never thought much about how Native Americans might view him, nor had he been asked the question Rodriguez was two years ago: What’s the difference between Wahoo and the racist caricatures of African Americans?
“You know, umm,” he said, then paused. “I guess, yeah. I guess so. It’s tough. I guess that’s true.”