Canadian indigenous activist takes Indians to court over 'offensive' name, logo

Canadian indigenous activist takes Indians to court over 'offensive' name, logo

Toronto, Ontario - A Canadian indigenous activist has filed an injunction aimed at stopping the Cleveland Indians from displaying their name or logo while playing Games 3, 4 and 5 of the ALCS in Toronto this week.


The Cleveland Indians' name and Chief Wahoo logo have been a point of controversy for years, with pressure mounting from activist groups to change the branding that some have deemed offensive to indigenous cultures.

The application, filed by Douglas Cardinal, an architect and officer of the Order of Canada, looks to stop the Indians, Major League Baseball and ALCS broadcaster Rogers Communications from using the team's name and logo.

"We should be displaying more consciousness in the choices we make in relation to logos," said Michael Swinwood, Cardinal's lawyer, to the National Post. "It's offensive to indigenous people, and it needs to be addressed."

"Mr. Cardinal, who has long fought for the rights of Indigenous Peoples, has simply had enough," he added in a release. "Canadian law clearly prohibits discrimination of this nature."

Fuller, a spokesperson for Cardinal, said that his client believes that the players should wear jerseys without the Chief Wahoo logo, and that they should be referred to as "the Cleveland team" during the broadcast.

The application would only ban players from wearing the logo, and would not affect fans.

Aaron Lazarus, a spokesperson for Rogers Communications, told the National Post in a statement that it would be "virtually impossible" to leave the name and logo out of the broadcast.

"The playoff series between the Jays and Cleveland is also significantly important to millions of passionate baseball fans across Canada," he said. "Punishing these fans by blocking the broadcast of the games doesn't seem like the right solution."

In April, ESPN reported that the Indians had officially demoted Chief Wahoo to a secondary logo, with the "Block C" as the team's official logo. Paul Dolan, the team's owner, says that they have no plans of getting rid of Chief Wahoo, but are continuing to phase back the use of the logo out of empathy for those who take issue with it.

Last week, Blue Jays announcer Jerry Howarth said that he will not say the name Indians on air while doing play-by-play commentary on the ALCS games.

"The Indians are focused on competing in the postseason," a rep for the team said. "We will not comment any further on matters that distract from our pursuit on the field."

The case will be heard by the Ontario Superior Court in Toronto prior to Game 3 on Monday. Cardinal is seeking injunctive relief for Monday night's game.


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