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National Congress of American Indians sounds off after MLB commissioner Rob Manfred defends Atlanta Braves “tomahawk chop” tradition.
The Atlanta Braves have received some significant criticism in recent years for their “tomahawk chop” tradition and now MLB commissioner Rob Manfred is catching heat for defending it.
In part, Manfred said “the Native American community in that region is wholly supportive of the Braves program, including the chop. For me, that’s kind of the end of the story. In that market, we’re taking into account the Native American community.”
Manfred also added that “the Native American community is the most important group to decide whether it’s appropriate or not.”
In a statement, NCAI President Fawn Sharp spoke out against how Atlanta’s team’s name, “the tomahawk adorning the team’s uniform, and the ‘tomahawk chop’ that the team exhorts its fans to perform at home games are meant to depict and caricature not just one tribal community but all Native people.”
Sharp went on to state that MLB leadership and the Atlanta Braves should actually listen to the Native American community.
“Consequently, the league and team have an obligation to genuinely listen to Tribal Nations and leaders across the United States about how the team’s mascot impacts them,” Sharp said.
Is the Braves Chop racist? National Congress of American Indians issues response to Rob Manfred’s defense
This will not be the last controversy that Manfred and Atlanta will need to find a way to navigate. One very related and very important topic is the team name, which, like the team formerly known as the Cleveland Indians, has been criticized.
Atlanta has held on to its name despite receiving feedback and Manfred hasn’t exactly done much to actually diffuse that situation.
The National Congress of American Indians delivered a strong statement on the matter with their response to Manfred, which should only further fuel the controversy.