Cleveland Indians’ Francisco Lindor celebrates with teammate Jose Ramirez after he hit a lead off home run against the Toronto Blue Jays in the first inning of their American League MLB baseball game in Toronto on Thursday September 6, 2018. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Thornhill)

Indians drop chief logo for Canada stop in aftermath of controversy

Team didn’t comment, but indicated it’s ‘acknowledging increased sensitivity’ to image in Canada

The Cleveland Indians are giving fans a preview of their new-look uniforms this week in Toronto by dropping the Chief Wahoo image from their hats and uniforms.

A team spokesman declined comment on why the team made a change for its final series at Rogers Centre this season, only saying that an MLB.com website story on the development was factual.

“Acknowledging increased sensitivity to the Chief Wahoo image in Canada, the Indians … opted not to feature it during this series,” the story said.

The caricature of a First Nations man was the subject of controversy during the 2016 MLB playoffs in Toronto. Indigenous activist Douglas Cardinal filed a human rights complaint federally and provincially against the Indians, MLB and Rogers Communications — the owner of the Blue Jays — trying to stop Cleveland from using the logo during the 2016 American League Championship Series.

“We were very pleased to see that the team decided not to use the logo at the game in Toronto,” Lenczner Slaght lawyer Monique Jilesen, who has represented Cardinal, said in an email to The Canadian Press.

Jilesen said the parties have resolved the human rights proceedings and the court application.

READ MORE: South Asian hockey players in Lower Mainland face racism, other barriers, study says

The logo is something that has long bothered Blue Jays president Mark Shapiro, who spent more than two decades as an Indians executive.

“I never said it when I was in Cleveland, but I struggled with Chief Wahoo from the day I got there in 1992 to the day I left,” Shapiro said Friday. “I was happy to see it consistently get diminished.

“I will shed no tears when it’s gone completely.”

The Indians announced plans last January to remove the logo from their uniforms completely beginning in 2019.

Chief Wahoo will return to the Indians’ uniforms on Monday at Tampa Bay and will remain for the rest of the season before being retired from on-field use.

Shapiro, who joined the Blue Jays in 2015 after 24 seasons with the Indians, played a lead role in establishing a block “C” as Cleveland’s logo. It replaced the cartoonish image of a big-toothed First Nations man with a scarlet face and single feather in his headdress.

Shapiro touched on the logo issue during an afternoon media availability.

“It doesn’t mean that much because I’m focused on the Blue Jays,” he said. “I guess there’s like a small part of me that kind of says, ‘Good. It’s about time.’”

MLB said the decision to scrap the logo came from the league’s commitment to “building a culture of diversity and inclusion throughout the game.”

Longtime Blue Jays radio announcer Jerry Howarth, who retired in the off-season, made a point of not saying Cleveland’s nickname after a First Nations fan wrote to him explaining how hurtful the name and logo were to Indigenous people.

The Indians-Blue Jays series continues through Sunday.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

New wildfire discovered east of Gustafsen Lake

Lightning is the suspected cause of a new wildfire near 100 Mile House

100 Mile House District Council initiates Community Transition support after Norbord announcement

‘We are going to do everything we can to make sure 100 Mile House is resilient as a community’

Community-wide Art Crawl celebrates art and culture in the South Cariboo

The self-guided Art Crawl will run from June 21 - July 1

108 Mile’s Annual Pig Roast sees a good turnout

Over $4000 raised at third Annual Pig Roast

10 facts about Father’s Day

Did you know that the special day for dads was first celebrated in 1910?

Northern B.C. family remembers murdered Indigenous woman with memorial walk

Still no closure for Ramona Wilson’s family 25 years later

New wildfire discovered east of Gustafsen Lake

Lightning is the suspected cause of a new wildfire near 100 Mile House

B.C. university to offer mentorship program for former youth in care

Students using the provincial tuition waiver program will soon be able to form a community at KPU

Cyclists competing in one of the toughest bike races on the planet pass through Fernie

Divide riders looking strong as they finish first leg of 4160 km race

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

B.C. bus driver loses case to get job back after texting while driving full bus

An arbitator ruled that Tim Wesman’s phone usage was a “a reckless disregard for public safety”

B.C. Interior First Nation family ‘heartbroken’ over loss of young mom

RCMP have released no new information since the June 8, 2019 homicide

Revamped B.C. Lions set to battle veteran Winnipeg Blue Bombers

The Lions’ first test of the season will be a big one

Most Read