Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred has been publicly pressuring the team to remove the logo, the topic of debate coming into the spotlight in 2017 when the team was named as the host site of the 2019 All-Star Game.
First utilized on Cleveland's uniforms in 1948, the Chief Wahoo logo has brought out passion from both sides of the debate, including from MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, who cited the need for "diversity and inclusion" in the statement announcing the elimination of on-field use of the logo.
The team had been phasing out the logo in recent years, substituting a large block "C" insignia on some uniforms. There has been a huge push for it to be removed, while others asserted it is part of the Indians' baseball history.
Manfred said in a statement that the move was the result of "constructive conversations" between the league and Indians chief executive and chairman Paul Dolan over the past year.
WKSU sports commentator Terry Pluto says Major League Baseball and Indians owner Paul Dolan agreed to nix the logo of a grinning caricature of a Native American man that many find offensive. There was some speculation that doing away with the logo was a condition of Cleveland hosting the MLB All-Star Game in 2019. It is merely a coincidence that 2019 will be the first year they don't use the Chief Wahoo logo in any capacity.
However, the American League team will continue to wear the Wahoo logo on its uniform sleeves and caps in 2018, and the club will still sell merchandise featuring the mascot in Northeast Ohio.
However, the team will continue to sell merchandise adorned with Chief Wahoo in northeast OH, a decision the AP says was made to keep trademark rules in place.
Every year, groups of Native Americans and their supporters have protested outside the stadium before the home opener in hopes of not only getting the team to abolish Chief Wahoo but to change the Indians' nickname, which they feel is an offensive depiction of their race.
The team made the announcement Monday on its website. "It doesn't make any sense to me, unless they want to continue to make what's basically blood money".
"I would have just ripped off the Band-Aid", Brown said. "For too long, people of color have been stereotyped with these kinds of hurtful symbols - and no symbol is more hurtful than the football team in the nation's capital using a dictionary-defined racial slur as its team name". But according to MascotDB, a database of sports team names and mascots, many hundreds of American teams retain Indian imagery, ranging from local high schools to major teams like the Washington Redskins.