Here is an ugly shirt from the official team store of the Atlanta Braves, a team that’s been trying to stop fans from doing the racist “tomahawk chop” chant at games.
And there’s that ugly shirt with the aforementioned bad chant in the middle of it, on full display. While infuriating, this shouldn’t necessarily come as a surprise given that fact that you can still purchase gear from the Cleveland Indians adorned with the offensive Native caricature, Chief Wahoo, on it.
However, recent events make this product a little more frustrating. MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred was given the National Congress of American Indians’ Public Sector Leadership Award for his involvement in getting Chief Wahoo removed from the game day uniforms of the Cleveland Indians. The award, according to NCAI President Jefferson Keel, was meant to serve as a message that this kind of action in eliminating native caricatures from franchises in all sports—here’s looking at you, Washington—is looked at admirably.
That’s great and all, but Washington Post columnist Kevin Blackistone recognized that MLB had other teams with disrespectful references to Native Americans. Blackistone asked Manfred about the Atlanta Braves and the “tomahawk chop” to which the commissioner replied:
“The Braves have taken steps to take out the tomahawk chop,” Manfred said. “I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that.”
Right, and I’m sure many people who have protested against these disrespectful references, like the Chief Wahoo logo that Manfred took a stand against, would be remiss if they didn’t ask why this dumb shirt continues to be sold—especially when racists regularly use it to mock Native Americans.
It’s amazing what you can get away with when the acceptable bar is Dan Snyder.