The Atlanta Braves have not worn the ‘Screaming Indian’ logo since 1989, but since the club released its throwback design the reaction over the web has not been good.
Paul Lukas of ESPN’s Uni Watch recently published an article previewing and rating all 30 new hats.
“Unfortunately, it turns out that the logo hasn’t been permanently mothballed. Disappointing. Grade F” wrote Lukas.
The Braves first used the logo in 1959 while in Milwaukee and used it occasionally for 30 years until they were pressured to get rid of it by various groups who believe Native American imagery in sports to be offensive.
“It really is a wonder that the Braves are going with these caps. As far as I can tell, there was no real groundswell to bring this logo back, which is saying something in an age where fans of several teams hold a deep affinity for their old-school looks.” said Yahoo!’s Big League Stew
“For reasons that completely escape me given how the team has slowly eliminated native American iconography from their uniforms (i.e. getting rid of the tomahawk on the alternate jerseys, etc.), the Braves have unveiled a hideous BP cap with that old “screaming Indian” logo. Most of us had thought that they had canned that thing, but apparently not. Poor, poor form, Atlanta.” said Hardball Talk’s Craig Calcaterra.
“Maybe somebody in the team’s marketing department incorrectly surmised that the city of Atlanta loves stereotypical depictions of entire races of people. Perhaps ownership was sick and tired of the Washington Redskins and their culturally insensitive name remaining the most offensive rendition of Native American culture in this country. Why did the Braves screw this up so badly?” said Bleacher Report’s Timothy Rapp.
“Hands down, the worst (of the 30 new batting practice caps). The team had appeared to be getting away from some of its use of Native American caricatures, avoiding using a similar “screaming Indian” from its throwback alternate introduced last year, but the folks who don’t see anything wrong in the tomahawk chop, probably won’t mind this.” said CBSSports.com blogger C. Trent Rosecrans.
For many years now groups around the country have lobbied against Native American imagery and nicknames in sports, believing them offensive and dehumanizing. Aside from the Braves in baseball, the Cleveland Indians have felt such pressure towards their name and ‘Smiling Indian’ logo for years. In other sports you have the Chicago Blackhawks, Golden State Warriors, Florida State Seminoles, Kansas City Chiefs and probably the most offensive of them all; the Washington Redskins.
On the flip-side of the argument, however, many believe that such names and logos are honoring Native Americans and not dehumanizing them.