Report: Braves don’t intend to change name

The Atlanta Braves do not intend to change their name despite pressures from Native American groups and other critics to do so, The Athletic reported Tuesday.

Per the report, the Braves are having ongoing discussions about the use of the “Tomahawk Chop,” but they are not considering a name change as the Cleveland Indians and NFL’s Washington Redskins have said they are.

Washington’s NFL team announced Friday it was conducting a “thorough review” of its name, with expectations of a change, perhaps before the regular season starts in September. Cleveland’s MLB team announced later that day that it would “determine the best path forward with regard to our team name.”

Atlanta released a statement over the weekend, saying in part, “The Atlanta Braves honor, support and value the Native American community. That will never change.”

The team also said it has met with its Native American Working Group to discuss cultural issues, and added, “We have much work to do on and off the field, but the Atlanta Braves are ready to meet the challenge of these times.”

Native American groups with whom the team has communicated expressed approval of the Braves’ efforts while still urging a name change.

“We appreciate that the Atlanta Braves are trying to honor the Native community, but the best way to honor us, is to stop the use of Native American depictions across sports,” Chuck Hoskin Jr., the Principal Chief of Cherokee Nation, told The Athletic.

Kevin Allis, CEO of the National Congress of American Indians, added that the NCAI is “grateful and very appreciative” of the team’s efforts to collaborate, but said that changing the name would be preferred.

“We welcome and applaud the efforts to address this important issue by the Cleveland baseball team, and all other organizations in similar situations,” Allis said.

The franchise has used the Braves nickname since 1912, when it was based in Boston. The team moved to Milwaukee in 1953 and Atlanta in 1966.

The Braves adopted the “Tomahawk Chop” in 1991, with music playing as fans chanted and swung foam tomahawks. It drew criticism last October in the National League Divisional Series from pitcher Ryan Helsley — a member of the Cherokee tribe — who played for the opposing Cardinals. Atlanta canceled plans to give out foam tomahawks before the series finale and did not play the music while Helsley was on the mound.

The Braves’ logo includes an image of a tomahawk. The team retired mascot Chief Noc-A-Homa before the 1986 season after 21 years.


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