DOWNTOWN CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Cleveland Indians fans could be saying goodbye to chief Wahoo in the future. The MLB commissioner said it's time for the controversial logo to go.
Native Americans who have been fighting to get rid of chief Wahoo say this is a step forward, but many fans say the logo is a big part of the team's history.
On Indians game day, you can't escape Chief Wahoo. He is on hats, jerseys, jackets, and signs. But lately, fans have seen less and less of him as the team adopted a block "C" as its most visible logo.
"This is our city and Chief Wahoo is a part of it and to remove that I feel like is to remove a part of Cleveland," said fan Matt Roth.
The commissioner says they're taking specific steps to phase the logo out and they're in talks with the Cleveland Indians right now.
"You gotta keep Chief Wahoo, it's part of the Indians," said fan Carey Bennett.
But not everyone thinks so.
Philip Yenyo is executive director of the American Indian Movement of Ohio.
"It feels really good that steps are being taken, that our voices are being heard," Yenyo said.
Yenyo and several other activists have been fighting to get rid of Chief Wahoo for years.
"We don't look like that, it's a basic stereotype. And the fact that they use a feather is really disrespectful to our spiritual ways. That eagle feather is as sacred to us as the cross is to Christians," Yenyo said.
Jack Bowers sees both sides. He says he did mission work on the Northern Cheyenne reservation and he's okay with Chief Wahoo.
"On their board at school, all the kids are supposed to bring in their favorite mascots, and Chief Wahoo was on there. So some people definitely see
it as offensive, some see it as a symbol of pride," Bowers said.
Cleveland 19 asked a White Sox fan what he thought.
"I don't really know about it being offensive, but if he wants to change it that's his business," Joshua Pettit said.
The Cleveland Indians released this statement:
Commissioner Rob Manfred and Indians Owner Paul Dolan have had on-going dialogue on the topic of Chief Wahoo since last October. We certainly understand the sensitivities of the logo -- those who find it insensitive and also those fans who have a long standing attachment to its place in the history of the team. We fully expect to work with the Commissioner throughout the remainder of this season on finding a solution that is good for the game and our organization. Our primary focus right now is on the team and our pursuit of returning to the postseason.