State Sen. Eric Kearney tells Indians to find new mascot and nickname 'free of racial insensitivity'

COLUMBUS, Ohio - A couple weeks have passed since Chief Wahoo last appeared in a headline--most recently for inspiring T-shirts that were selling like hot cakes in Canada. But that doesn't mean the controversy has quieted down any.

On Wednesday, State Senator Eric Kearney, a Democrat from Cincinnati, introduced a resolution telling the Cleveland Indians he thinks it's time they "adopt a new nickname and new mascot free of racial insensitivity."

In the resolution, SRC 42, Kearney writes: "I encourage the team not to pass on a legacy that carries racist undertones to future generations of fans.”

The one-time running mate of gubernatorial candidate Ed FitzGerald also sent a letter to Indians team owner Lawrence Dolan.

In July, Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig said the decision is up to the team, not him or the MLB.

Fans who support "keeping the Chief" often cite the symbol's history with the team and its place in the city.

Brad Ricca's "Secret History of Chief Wahoo," in Belt Magazine, delves into the origin of the icon he says is "like infrastructure: it is way down in the bowels of things."

He traced Wahoo back to a reoccurring Plain Dealer cartoon that ran 15 years before the Indians official logo debuted.

Of course, it was a February editorial in the Plain Dealer that sparked this season's debate by urging the team to dump its "offensive" caricature of Native Americans. 

A lawsuit, like the one filed against the Washington Redskins, has been promised by Native Americans who have long opposed Wahoo.

Last off-season, the team itself asked fans, in its year-end survey, for feedback on the name and their logo. The results of that survey were not made public.

No comment has yet been made by the Indians to Kearney's resolution. At 11 am Thursday, the team will hold a press conference to announce renovations to Progressive Field.

 

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