The Braves had reportedly considered using a 'screaming Indian' logo on batting practice caps
The logo drew ire from Native Americans as being offensive
The Braves are now using a navy blue cap with the scripted 'A' logo
In the end, the Braves are keeping with tradition - as in the signature ‘A’ that is the team’s logo.
MLB.com posted a photo of the new navy blue batting practice caps with a red and white scripted ‘A.’ The team will wear those hats at spring training, which starts Tuesday.
The Braves said a decision on the batting caps had not been made yet when a potential design was leaked several weeks ago. That design drew ire for its “screaming Indian” logo.
“I like the selection we made this year,” Braves President John Schuerholz said in a statement Monday. “We had a variety of choices that we looked at, some more thoroughly than others. But at the end, we liked this one.”
But writer Paul Lukas of ESPN’s Uni Watch blog, who broke the news of the cap design in December, wasn’t buying the Braves’ statement. He suggested the Braves withdrew the design because of the furor it caused.
“In other words, the Braves are claiming that they were never committed to the Indian head cap to begin with,” Lukas wrote. “But that doesn’t ring true.
“The Indian head cap has been shown for months in the official MLB Style Guide and is still shown there right now,” Lukas wrote. “It’s also shown in the new New Era catalog. All signs indicate that the Braves fully intended to go with the Indian design until the recent controversy caused them to have second thoughts.
Whew. That was certainly the reaction for some Americans, especially Native American groups that were highly critical of the screaming Indian logo.
Kevin Gover, director of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian, said in December that the use of the screaming Indian logo would be going backward.
“What this does is contribute to the casual racism native people are subjected to in our society,” said Gover, a member of the Pawnee Nation.
The screaming Indian is an image of an imaginary Indian, Gover said. It and other stereotypical sports mascots, he said, do not portray Native Americans for who they truly are.
The Indian was part of the Braves logo when the team moved to Atlanta from Milwaukee in 1966. It was retired in 1989.
The team also had a mascot, Chief Noc-a-Homa (knock a homer), who wore Native American dress and war paint.
But not everyone agreed with the Braves’ decision.
@ADeVoll17 posted this: “So disappointed the @Braves aren’t wearing the Screaming Indian hats for spring training. You damn Indians won this time.”
@MrBrohannon said: “Sick and tired of this PC culture we live in where everybody is afraid to hurt anybody’s feelings. The “Screaming Indian” logo isn’t racist…”
Others just wanted a piece of the controversy:
@mattplanet said: “Okay, so we all know some prototypes of that screaming indian Braves BP cap were made…somebody got to get us one…”
Debate over sports mascots is, of course, not new. U.S. professional and collegiate sports teams have used Native American logos and names for years. Baseball’s Cleveland Indians, for instance, continue to feature a smiling Indian dubbed Chief Wahoo, criticized as a racist caricature.
Sometimes this happens with the blessing of Native American tribes, and other times – like with the NFL’s Washington Redskins, a term that many feel advances a demeaning stereotype – they have been denounced as racial slurs.