CLEVELAND--The National Congress of American Indians spoke out in support of the Cleveland Indians and their mascot, Chief Wahoo, yesterday, after the team won its 19th game in a row and expanded its AL Central lead to 13.5 games over the Minnesota Twins. It was a sharp departure for the organization, which recently condemned the “cultural misappropriation and offensive imagery” conveyed by the use of the Wahoo mascot and team name.
According to a spokesperson for the group, things have changed since the Indians embarked on their historic winning streak.
“We are changing our stance on Chief Wahoo and the Cleveland Indians name,” NCAI director Jacqueline Locklear said in a press conference today. “The team has now won 19 games in a row and, frankly, we’re starting to warm up to the idea of being associated with them. They’re winners. And that goofy, smiling caricature with the red skin and feathers on his head? He’s kinda cute. I guess you could say we’re on the Indians bandwagon now. We still hate the Redskins, though. Get a running game, losers.”
NCAI has opposed the use of Native American mascots in sports since 1968, Locklear said, but 19 games is 19 games.
“It’s an amazing achievement,” she said. “To me, they represent everything great about the Native American peoples: they are resilient, strong, brave, and unselfish. And perhaps most importantly, they are leading the AL Central by 13.5 games. Race over. Let’s get to the playoffs already, kemosabe.”
Locklear then smiled and donned a Cleveland Indians cap, complete with smiling Chief Wahoo logo.
“Today, I am proud to be an Indian,” she said.
And it’s not just Locklear that has changed her mind. A recent poll of Native Americans found over 73 percent of them now support the Indians logo, 20 percent are indifferent, and only seven percent still believe it should be changed.
With the newfound support of the Native American community, the pressure is off the Cleveland Indians team to change their logo.
“Well so much for that,” said Chris Antonetti, team president. “For a while there we were seriously considering changing the mascot but now that everybody’s on board with it, it's here to stay. And I say good for them. It’s time for our nation’s Indians to see that our mascot is intended to be a tribute, not an insult. Kinda like the big letter ‘B’ on Red Sox caps. You don't see Bostonians complaining about that.”
With the Cleveland Indians now being embraced by Native American groups, some wonder if the Redskins can be far behind.
Unfortunately for the Skins and their owner Dan Snyder, sentiment about the team’s logo has not changed.
“Oh, no, we’re not letting that idiot off the hook,” said Locklear. “Redskins? That’s like saying the n-word where I come from. And that supposed Indian chief on the helmet? So dour! Lighten up, pal. Not to mention they’re one of the worst run franchises in the league. If you’re going to insult our heritage, the least you can do is win a playoff game once every decade or so. Go Indians!”
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