The Cleveland Indians have spent the last few years shuffling their racist Chief Wahoo logo, a Sambo-like Native American caricature that wears a gaudy grin, to the backburner. Once the team’s primary logo, Chief Wahoo still appears the Indians’ uniforms, albeit in a less prominent fashion. But that didn’t stop New Era, the company that makes all of baseball’s game-used caps, from bringing back the logo for its special Fourth of July edition lids. And somehow it managed to make the logo even more offensive by draping it in an American flag and making it look a lot like blackface:
The Indians have donned similar hats during previous Independence and Memorial Day games, though they’ve more recently used their new, non-offensive logo instead. And fortunately, for somewhat obvious reasons, the league and organization decided that the cap was a bad idea, because Business Insider reported today that New Era released an image of the cap by mistake. That seems hard to believe, but either way, the Indians will wear this cap instead:
The question is why, at a time when the use of Native American imagery in sports is the subject of debates from high school to the pros, baseball and New Era keep making this mistake. After all, it has been less than six months since MLB and New Era pulled the plug on an Atlanta Braves cap that used an offensive Native American logo the Braves long ago abandoned. And yet here we are again.