Opinion: Bon Voyage, Chief Wahoo, It's Time to Say Goodbye


I've been rooting for the Cleveland Indians since the 1990s, when I was a preteen. 

The sellouts of the new ballpark, Jacobs Field, (now Progressive Field), the home runs from soon-to-be-hall-of-famer Jim Thome, the slick fielding of shortstop Omar Vizquel (my all-time favorite player in the team's history), Bartolo Colon whiffing away the batters with straight fastballs, the two World Series appearances in three years, all brings back memories I will never forget. 

In that time, there's also something I'll never forget: Chief Wahoo, the red-faced, big-toothed caricature on the caps and sleeves of the Tribe. The latter will be no more come 2019. And it's about time!

At some point, I intend to own the Cleveland Indians baseball franchise in the 2030s-2040s. 

One of my plans was to eradicate the Chief Wahoo logo from existence for good. But since Tribe CEO Paul Dolan and MLB commissioner Rob Manfred are to do that already, I guess I have to find another idea in my 25-point plan! 

As the years have gone on, I've tried to avoid wearing merchandise bearing the controversial logo. When I was younger, I didn't care.

In fact, in 1998 for Halloween — the last time I ever dressed up to go trick-or-treating — my costume was Chief Wahoo. 

The amount of negativity I got from wearing the red paint on my face from folks handing out the candy was enough to never go door-to-door asking for treats ever again.

That was only the beginning.

When 1999, 2000 and 2001 came along, I still rooted on the Indians wearing the Wahoo hat. Then 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005 came and went, but I still wore it. By the late 2000s, the team was starting to wind down using the logo as the primary team cap and opted to wear the "block red C," a much more respectable, dignified design. 

When the 2010s started, my opinion of Chief Wahoo being phased out was one I could get on board with.

Like many, I learned about the prejudice against Native Americans in school. The suffering they endured as a race, a people, a culture and a society. For any professional sports team to glorify it and profit off it is just disrespectful.  (Especially that pro football franchise located in Washington D.C.)! 

It's time to move on from Chief Wahoo. 

This is not a PC-police run amok issue. This is about respect and dignity.The logo is about neither.

I will be a Cleveland Indians fan until I die, and for many years, I wondered if that was going to be the case with the caricature being a fixture in the franchise. I know from personal experience and knowledge that it's a good thing, not a bad thing to rid Chief Wahoo once and for all!

Jay Dawg is co-host of "Cail and Company," which airs noon-3 p.m. Monday-Friday on 107.7 WTPL The Pulse and 107.3 WEMJ.

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