The Baseball Hall Of Fame Eliminated Cleveland’s Racist Mascot Before The Team Did
Rather than wait for the team to take long-promised action, a Cleveland player and Hall of Fame officials ended the logo’s display.
Jim Thome’s plaque in the Baseball Hall of Fame will depict the Cleveland Indians icon with a hat bearing the team’s “Block C” logo rather than the offensive Chief Wahoo mascot that the team will continue to use in the upcoming 2018 season.
The decision to break from the logo that Thome wore for most of his career was the result of a direct request from Thome himself as well as an internal decision made by the powers that be at the Hall of Fame.
The latter issued a statement indicating that the exclusion of the racist depiction will be systematic going forward, regardless of the team’s treatment of the logo in its operations. The statement suggests that the exclusion will only be forward-looking and that existing plaques will not be altered to remove the Chief Wahoo logo.
While the Hall of Fame’s action is clear, the Indians have waivered on their promise to eradicate the stereotype from its identity. Though team owner Paul Dolan has previously offered lip service as to the promised removal, his action has been far from swift. He pledged to make the change as early as 2016 but has since stated that the team will abandon the logo in 2019 — and only then as a condition set by the league for the team’s hosting of that year’s All-Star Game.
Until that time comes (if it actually does), we will bear witness to both the continued objections of the wronged parties as well as a parade of offensive visuals that the team seems indifferent to ending.