(portions published in The Plain Dealer, Letters to the Editor, October 26, 1995)
I was happy to see the Plain Dealers article against the use of Chief Wahoo on Oct. 20. With both the Cleveland and Atlanta ballclubs participating, this topic can hardly be avoided.
As a lifelong fan of the Cleveland team, I have always felt torn between my loyalty to the team and disgust toward its logo. But speaking out against the team logo and nickname does not equate to disloyalty for the team. Professional sports teams have changed logos, nicknames and even cities more times than one would care to count, and continue to thrive. There is no logical reason to stick with "tradition" for its own sake. Since Native Americans find the use of the nickname and its symbols offensive, they must be changed. The fact that "Redskins" is deemed relatively more offensive is a cop-out. "Boy" may be relatively less offensive than "nigger" or "coon," but its meaning and associations are nonetheless pejorative. I applaud the efforts of the Portland Oregonian and the Minneapolis Star Tribune in refusing to identify baseballs championship teams in any other way than "Cleveland" and "Atlanta."
With the success of Cleveland owner Dick Jacobs and General Manager John Harts five-year plan and the opening of Jacobs Field, the team missed a golden opportunity to set a new course last year when it redesigned the teams uniform. The bottom line in keeping "the Chief" is money. As long as "Wahoo" sells, his grin will shame us.
I hope that my fellow Clevelanders and fans will express their opposition and that our teams management will decide to usher in a new era of civic pride and success and discontinue the use of the Chief Wahoo logo.
Milton Alan Turner