MLB

MLB pulls Chief Wahoo-Jackie Robinson caps

42 Comments

Over the weekend it was discovered that, among the “42”-themed merchandise Major League Baseball and its marketing partners were selling for Jackie Robinson Day, was an Indians cap featuring the “42” patch on the side and everyone’s favorite lame duck logo, Chief Wahoo, on the front, in his smiling glory.

Yep, no better way than to commemorate the end of de jure baseball segregation than by putting out merch with racist iconography on it. Fantastic work, folks!

This morning Maury Brown of Forbes reports that the league has pulled the cap from the site, saying that “it was mistake and had somehow slipped through the cracks,” [Brown’s words]. Whether you believe that was truly a mistake or whether it was removed due to the backlash that popped up over the weekend is between you and your belief in Major League Baseball’s efficiency and prowess when it comes to forward-thinking decision making and public relations prowess.

Whatever it was, however, there was one way this could have been avoided, unequivocally: getting rid of Wahoo immediately, rather than keeping the logo on the team’s on-field gear for one additional year.

When the league and the club made the decision to discontinue Wahoo’s use, they admitted that it was unacceptable, saying it was “no longer appropriate for on-field use,” and that it clashed with Major League Baseball’s commitment “to building a culture of diversity and inclusion.” That’s as close as corporate-speak comes to saying “yeah, that thing is as racist as hell” and, as such, it was an admirably courageous stance, at least by the low standards applied to such matters for multi-billion dollar corporate actors.

Of course, that they then nonetheless allowed it to persist another year was an implicit admission that, even if it’s racist, they’d sure like to sell a lot more Wahoo merch” before he’s gone. Given that cynical position, MLB is not entitled to the benefit of the doubt here. They are not allowed to say they made a “mistake” when they are the ones who knowingly and willingly created the conditions where it was likely to happen.

Maybe before this year, when the league and club offered vague and coy comments about Wahoo and could thus offer some moderately plausible deniability about what his appearance means in any given context, they could’ve said “oopsie.” As it is, however, they own whatever bad looks they create because they willingly allow the logo they themselves believe to be offensive to grace their official merch.

Blue Jays designate Edwin Jackson for assignment

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Back in May journeyman Edwin Jackson debuted with the Toronto Blue Jays. When he did so, he made history by suiting up for a record 14th different team in his 17-year big league career.

Sadly the 14th time wasn’t the charm, as Jackson has been knocked around pretty good with Toronto, posting an 11.12 ERA in 28 and a third innings over eight appearances, five of which came as starts. He was just insanely hittable over that span, allowing a staggering 15.6 hits per nine innings. As such, it’s not too surprising that the Jays designated Jackson for assignment today. They did so to make room for Jacob Waguespack, who will start tonight’s game against the Red Sox.

Jackson, 35, will not try to latch on with team number 15. Or, I suppose, he he has almost even odds to re-join an old team.