Yesterday the Braves made the decision not to issue those toy foam tomahawks to fans in SunTrust Park and said that they would not play the Tomahawk Chop music if or when Cardinals reliever — and Native American — Ryan Helsley came into the game for the Cardinals.
It all ended up being much ado about nothing, of course. For one thing, they still played the damn Tomahawk Chop music, even when when they were down by a dozen runs, which is rather pathetic. For another thing, fans, many of whom brought their own foam tomahawks, still did their whooping, again, even though the team was in a hopeless hole out of which it had no chance of climbing. For a third thing, Helsley didn’t even appear in the game, so there wasn’t even a moment when, if the fans wanted to chop and whoop, the team might do anything less than lustily encourage them to do it. He didn’t need to come into the game, of course, because the Braves pinched off one of the worst performances any team has ever given in postseason history.
You’d think that’d be enough to put any whining on the part of Tomahawk Chop dead-enders to rest, but nah.
My comments and mentions are some great evidence of that. Indeed, you would not believe the epithets some of my Braves fan readers/followers hurled at Helsley for his simple act of honestly answering a question about whether he enjoyed 40,000 people mocking and caricaturing his race at the prompting of a major league baseball team. Well, maybe you would believe it, but lemme tell ya, some people get seriously emotional and angry when they’re politely asked to consider the feelings of racial or ethnic minorities.
More evidence of it: Georgia Republicans are having a temper tantrum about the, again, wholly symbolic act the Braves took which did absolutely nothing to prevent either the team or its fans from doing the same things they always do. From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
“This. Is. Painful,” tweeted state Rep. Trey Kelley, one of the top Republicans in the Georgia House, midway through the team’s first-inning implosion. “Have to feel this is karma for the unjustified and rash decision to do away with foam tomahawks.”
He’s literally claiming that taking away a toy caused supernatural forces to make Mike Foltynewicz suck. And he’s in charge of legislation in the eighth-largest state in the country.
Nick Ayers, the former top aide to Vice President Mike Pence and a veteran Georgia operative, had a curt reaction to the team’s first-inning struggles. “Maybe don’t ban the tomahawk chop next time?”
Again: no one banned the Tomahawk Chop. They didn’t give fans a free toy. They still played the music and fans did the Chop. They simply did not give out toys.
Debbie Dooley, a Georgia tea party organizer, said the Braves “jinxed itself by catering to a politically correct snowflake” and suggested the team change its name to “Atlanta Snowflakes.”
On the one hand, this would be a way better name than one that inspires the use of offensive Native American iconography. On the other hand, it may be worth examining who is the bigger snowflake: a Native American man who, again, merely answered a question posed to him about whether he thought it was cool for his entire race to be mocked or a politician who is having a meltdown over not being given a foam toy.
Erick Erickson, the conservative commentator, highlighted images of fans swinging oversized tomahawks. “Braves refuse to go with the Tomahawk Chop and get crushed on the field,” Erickson wrote. “Fitting and embarrassing.”
Not as embarrassing as lying about and casting aspersions on teenaged survivors of mass shootings, calling a Supreme Court justice a “goat f*****g child molester,” making all manner of extremely ugly attacks on other public figures, and thinking that the world needs more murderous dictators who throw political opponents out of helicopters, but sure, embarrassing. I mean, some baseball fans didn’t get a foam toy. A FOAM TOY.
I have no idea why these babies are crying so hard. I suspect that the Braves, despite their half-hearted feint at doing a decent thing yesterday, will revert back to form next season, will hand out foam toys and will blare the faux-Native American “warpath” music while encouraging fans to whoop it up the first time they get a man on first base. It’ll be way worse then, of course, because when it happens it will come in the wake of the Braves actually having acknowledged, at least momentarily, that it might be offensive to encourage that, but I am pretty sure it will happen all the same.
At which point, I presume, these Republicans will be totally thrilled. Because the only thing they seem to enjoy more than being carelessly insensitive to the feelings of racial minorities is being actively dismissive of those feelings with full, conscious knowledge that they are doing so.
And hey, they’ll get their toys back too.