Cross-posted on The Progressive on November 3, 2016
by Harvey Wasserman
The Chicago Cubs have won the World Series. They beat the team of Chief Wahoo and it’s long past time for him to depart.
With a rare comeback victory from being down three games to one, the Cubbies have ended the longest World Series drought in baseball history, beating the Cleveland Indians, the team with the second-longest drought. Not since 1908 have the Windy City north siders done this.
Congratulations especially to team president Theo Epstein, who put together the team that in 2004 ended the curse of the Red Sox, who had not won a World Series title since 1918. Now he’s done it again in Chicago. How my native Boston let the best baseball operations guy and the best manager (Terry Francona) leave town at the same time is beyond me.
But the real loser this year is Chief Wahoo, and it’s time to bury him forever.
The Cleveland Indians have been soiled for decades with the most cringeworthy logo in all of sports. It is an obscene cartoon that is beyond degrading. I will not describe it in detail. Cover up the feather and it could be an insult to every racial or ethnic group on the planet.
The team name “Indians” is also in contention. It’s a complicated discussion. If Cleveland really wants to “honor” Native Americans, as team ownership says, why not choose a local tribe, like the Shawnee or Erie or Wyandot, and pay them a royalty?
At least Cleveland’s team is not the R*****ns, that pathetic football team in Washington, D.C. How any public franchise could bear such a vile, racist name is beyond tolerance, especially in the nation’s capital.
Dan Snyder, the grotesque, embarrassing owner of the R*****ns, has reconfirmed his inexcusable, pig-headed commitment to keeping the name.
He should follow the sterling example of the owner (Abe Saperstein, now deceased) of Washington’s professional basketball team, whose name he changed from the Bullets in reaction to gun violence. They’re now the Wizards, a terrific choice.
Snyder could open the name change up to the public, hold a contest, a national discussion, and a local vote, and make a ton of money while doing it. All those new jerseys and good feelings and general exposure would be priceless. Instead he clings to a racist “tradition” and confirms his ultimate loser status by putting truly lousy teams on the field, year after year.
In fact, Snyder is now the ultimate argument for public ownership of all major sports franchises, which is long overdue. I am part-owner (two shares) of the Green Bay Packers, America’s Real Team because it is owned by members of the public. Our nation needs to end the shame of our beloved major league sports clubs being owned by billionaires who shuffle them around like portable slave plantations. They manipulate public funding for stadiums designed to serve the corporate elite. They treat the players like chattel. They ignore and abuse the public investment while expecting massive subsidies and royal treatment.
Every community in which a major sports team operates should own and run that franchise.
And Cleveland can join the civilized world by forcing the Indians to change their name and bury that awful logo. It was painful seeing it on the sleeves and helmets throughout this gorgeous World Series. The logo’s presence was a terrible blot on an otherwise wonderful sporting event.
It should not be allowed to happen again. Cleveland needs to take a leap of good faith, bury Chief Wahoo, and get a new name.