Getty Images

Major League Baseball issues a statement on Chief Wahoo

104 Comments

A court in Ontario is hearing arguments today on an attempt to bar the Cleveland Indians from using their team name and Chief Wahoo logo during tonight’s playoff game in Toronto. This based on a legal challenge by indigenous activist and architect Douglas Cardinal, who claims that the logo and team name violate human rights laws in Ontario.

The hearing is ongoing at the moment. Based on the comments coming out of the hearing — in one the judge asked how the game would be played if the Indians were not allowed to wear uniforms with their name and/or the Wahoo logo — it seems likely that the injunction will not be granted. We’ll update you if and when that changes, of course. UPDATE: The judge has dismissed the application for an injunction. The Indians can use their name and logo in tonight’s game.

In the meantime, Major League Baseball has issued a statement about the matter and about Chief Wahoo in general:

“Major League Baseball appreciates the concerns of those that find the name and logo of the Cleveland Indians to be offensive.  We would welcome a thoughtful and inclusive dialogue to address these concerns outside the context of litigation. Given the demands for completing the League Championship Series in a timely manner, MLB will defend Cleveland’s right to use their name that has been in existence for more than 100 years.”

It was a ready-made statement that other media outlets are carrying, but I’ll note that it was given to me in that exact form based on specific questions I posed to MLB this afternoon that did not deal specifically with the Ontario litigation. It makes one suspect that Major League Baseball has no desire whatsoever to weigh in on Chief Wahoo one way or the other, despite the fact that it and all of its clubs make money on the racist caricature via MLB’s shared revenue for merchandise sales. And, of course, despite the fact that the Indians and their mascot stand a good chance of representing one of its leagues in baseball’s most important event, the World Series.

Oakland Athletics reverse course, will continue to pay minor leaguers

Getty Images
3 Comments

Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Oakland Athletics owner John Fisher has reversed course and will continue to pay minor leaguers. Fisher tells Slusser, “I concluded I made a mistake.” He said he is also setting up an assistance fund for furloughed employees.

The A’s decided in late May to stop paying paying minor leaguers as of June 1, which was the earliest date on which any club could do so after an MLB-wide agreement to pay minor leaguers through May 31 expired. In the event, the A’s were the only team to stop paying the $400/week stipends to players before the end of June. Some teams, notable the Royals and Twins, promised to keep the payments up through August 31, which is when the minor league season would’ve ended. The Washington Nationals decided to lop off $100 of the stipends last week but, after a day’s worth of blowback from the media and fans, reversed course themselves.