The Atlanta Braves encouraged fans to gesture with the "Tomahawk Chop", distributing foam tomahawks at games and other events. MLB

MLB Commissioner defends Braves’ ‘The Chop,’ wants MLB to be ‘apolitical’

MLB Commissioner defends Braves’ ‘The Chop,’ wants MLB to be ‘apolitical’

  • Braves
Oct 28
SW Creative
  • SportsWriters

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred stood his ground when asked about the controversial “The Chop” name for the Atlanta Braves.

The name itself derives from the motion of throwing a tomahawk, which has been criticized by members of the Native American community, including St. Louis Cardinals reliever Ryan Helsey.

“I think it’s a misrepresentation of the Cherokee people or Native Americans in general,” Helsley said during the 2019 postseason. “Just depicts them in this kind of caveman-type people way who aren’t intellectual. They are a lot more than that. It’s not me being offended by the whole mascot thing. It’s not. It’s about the misconception of us, the Native Americans, and how we’re perceived in that way, or used as mascots. The Redskins and stuff like that.”

Manfred does not believe the name is a derogatory term or slur for the Native Americans in general.

“It’s important to understand that we have 30 markets around the country,” Manfred said, per The Athletic. They aren’t all the same. … 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.”

The City of Cleveland announced during the summer that it would discontinue the name “Cleveland Indians” and rename the team the “Cleveland Guardians” following the 2021 season.

“We always have tried to be apolitical,” Manfred added prior to the World Series game on Tuesday. “We have a fan base that’s diverse and has different points of view. And we’d like to keep the focus on the field, on the game.”

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