It seems Cleveland Indians owner Paul Dolan isn’t ready to drop Chief Wahoo quite yet, despite some prodding from the league.
According to the Akron Beacon Journal, during an appearance as a speaker, Dolan said “[the league and the team] are not exactly aligned on [Chief Wahoo’s] future, but we will come to some understanding some time relatively soon, meaning before the start of the 2018 season and maybe sooner than that”.
It’s no secret that Major League Baseball wants the Indians to drop their controversial Chief Wahoo logo, Commissioner Rob Manfred has recently said he’s not a fan, and when Chief Wahoo was demoted from their primary logo to just an alternate in 2014, the team said the logo swap wasn’t their decision.
“Frankly, we are on a path towards further mitigating the use of it, trying to find the right balance.”, Dolan added. “We are Clevelanders. We have that relationship with Chief Wahoo that so many do, but we’re empathetic to those who find some reason to be offended by it. But at the core, we do think there’s some validity to that.”
For the past several years my personal thinking has been that the Chief Wahoo would eventually be removed from the team’s visual identity, and that the Indians wouldn’t give it up without a public fight. This is a PR battle on both ends for them, but to keep their local pro-Wahoo fans aligned with the team they need to look like they had no other option and were forced into this decision. Let’s remember that Cleveland was recently awarded the 2019 MLB All-Star Game, I can’t imagine this game was awarded without a little “we give you the game if you drop the logo” thrown into it.
Based on nothing but my gut feeling, Chief Wahoo will not be anywhere on the Cleveland Indians caps or jerseys when the team takes the field for Opening Day 2019. The combination of the All-Star Game that summer plus the league-wide switch from Majestic to Under Armour jerseys gives plenty of “we wanted to keep it but we couldn’t because of XYZ” explanations that the team can use.