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

Snowfall warning for Trans Canada Highway

Between 15 cm to 20 cm is expected

Highway conditions for Revelstoke

Compact snow and slippery sections on Trans Canada and Highway 23

No one in Revelstoke should face dementia alone

More than 66,000 people struggle with Alzheimer’s and dementia in B.C.

Sagmoen denied bail

Bail for Curtis Wayne Sagmoen was denied, to uproarious applause by rally supporters.

People flocking to Vancouver Island city to see hundreds of sea lions

Each year the combination of Steller and California sea lions take over Cowichan Bay

Okanagan mentor awarded national Coach of the Year

Penticton’s Rob Kober was named the Jack Donohue Coach of the Year

Baloney Meter: Will tougher penalties for gang members make Canada safer?

Since 2013, gang-related homicides in Canada’s largest cities have almost doubled

Early data suggests no spike in pot-impaired driving after legalization: police

Some departments said it’s too early to provide data, others said initial numbers suggest stoned driving isn’t on the rise

Protesters confront Environment Minister in B.C.

Protesters wanting more for killer whales confront Catherine McKenna

Humans reshaping evolutionary history of species around the globe: paper

University of British Columbia researcher had the paper published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society

Toronto ‘carding’ activist Desmond Cole stopped by police in Vancouver

Cole says his experience reveals what daily life is like for black and Indigenous residents

Commercial trucks banned from left lane of Coquihalla

B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation has introduced a new program that hopes to prevent accidents and closures on the Coquihalla Highway.

B.C. on track to record same number of overdose deaths as last year

128 people died of overdoses in September, bringing the total to more than 1,100 so far in 2018

Most Read