In what was described as a controversy over Native American names in professional and collegiate sports arrived at the White House on Monday, when President Biden hosted the Atlanta Braves, winners of last year’s World Series. See the article titled Atlanta Braves visit White House, and controversy over Native American team name follows.
If a controversy is needed to advance a political agenda, create one. The above-linked article from www.aol.com claims that “the name Atlanta Braves and its accompanying tomahawk logo have long come under criticism as offensive to Native Americans.” The article added that during games, Braves fans mimic a “tomahawk chop” while crudely simulating Native American battle chants. That practice “has also received scrutiny,” most recently when the Braves defeated the Houston Astros in six games last year to become Major League Baseball champions.
Fawn Sharp, president of the National Congress of American Indians, said last year: “We have repeatedly and unequivocally made our position clear — Native people are not mascots, and degrading rituals like the tomahawk chop that dehumanize and harm us have no place in American society.” Sharp did not explain how a ‘chop’ was dehumanizing and caused harm, particularly since no one was actually ‘chopped.’
Described in the article as a “reluctant culture warrior,” the article added that Biden made no mention of the controversy over the name during the White House ceremony, which has become a traditional event for professional and collegiate sports teams.
As reported, later in the day, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was asked by a reporter about he characterized as a “debate over the Braves’ name and the tomahawk chop.” The team has said it would not consider a name change, but other organizations have made similar avowals, only to eventually relent in the face of public pressure.
Jean-Pierre responded: “We believe it’s important to have this conversation. Native American and Indigenous voices, they should be at the center of the conversation.” Then she added, “”That is something the president believes. That is something this administration believes. And he has consistently emphasized that all people deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. You hear that often from this president. The same is true here. And we should listen to Native American and Indigenous people who are most impacted by this.”
Jean-Pierre did not respond to a Yahoo News request for elaboration.
Some conservatives see the removal of Native American names as empty gestures and an attack on the athletic logos they’ve come to adore over the decades. The aol.com article describes this moment in the United States as “a period of intense racial reckoning,” and, thus, the article continues, “it has become harder to justify symbols of a legacy that is, according to many historians and activists, rife with murder and exploitation.”
Background is provided regarding professional sports teams changing names due to ‘pressure.’ In the summer of 2020, the Washington Redskins of the National Football League became the “Washington Football Team” while deciding on a new name (eventually settling on the Commanders). The Cleveland Indians — whose logo was a cartoonish rendition of a Native American — became the Guardians. The changes bothered then-President Donald Trump, who lamented on Twitter that the teams were “changing their names in order to be politically correct.”
An article in American Wire News, AWN, https://americanwirenews.com, titled Gov Kemp delivers unapologetic response when WH suggests name change for Atlanta Braves, provided a different perspective.
The article begins: “Woke posturing took a backseat to photo-ops Monday when President Joe Biden welcomed Major League Baseball’s Atlanta Braves to the White House. But as is so often the case with the president’s public appearances, a course-correcting walk back was deemed necessary to assure the right virtues were properly signaled.”
On Monday, the article stated, Biden hosted the Braves to honor their 2021 World Series Championship where he took no issue with repeating their name or accepting a personalized jersey adorned with the team’s tomahawk logo.
Some recent history with the Biden Administration and Atlanta was referenced. In fact, after taking umbrage with the state of Georgia and supporting MLB relocating the 2021 All-Star Game out of Atlanta because of their efforts to bolster voter integrity laws which the president called “Jim Crow on steroids,” Biden declared he was “honored” to host the Braves.
AWN reported: “Listening to those most impacted was precisely what MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said he had done when he took into consideration the views of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians who are based in North Carolina few hours outside Atlanta.
“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,” Manfred had said in the past. “In that market, we’re taking into account the Native American community.”
Richard Sneed, the principal chief of that tribe had also spoken up in defense of the Braves’ fanbase stating, “I’m not offended by somebody waving their arm at a sports game. I’m just not. If somebody is, that’s their prerogative, it’s their right. They can be offended…I don’t know very many, maybe one or two, from my tribe who say, ‘Yeah, I don’t like that.’”
A reporter asked White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre in the briefing hours after the president honored the team: “I’m wondering if you or the president has any thoughts about some of the controversial–about the team name–the Braves name, the so-called tomahawk chop, any thoughts on that?” Jean-Pierre replied: “So, look, we, we believe that it’s important to have this conversation.” And just like that, controversy was created.
By comparison, Georgia’s Republican Gov. Brian Kemp offered his unabashed support of the Braves franchise in a tweet captioning Jean-Pierre’s comments with, “The [Braves] should always be the Atlanta Braves. Go Braves and Keep Choppin’!”
HOME OF THE 'BRAVES': White House Ripped for Suggesting Atlanta Braves Name Change
During Mondy’s White House press briefing, press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said discussing a potential name change for the Atlanta Braves baseball team would be an “important” conversation to have.
“We believe that it’s important to have this conversation, and Native American and indigenous voices, they should be at the center of this conversation,” Jean-Pierre told Bloomberg News’ Jennifer Jacobs during Monday’s White House press briefing.
“That is something that the president believes, that is something this administration believes, and he has consistently emphasized all people deserve to be treated with dignity and respect,” she added.
The comments coincided with the team’s visit to the White House to celebrate their 2021 World Series win over the Houston Astros and followed a question concerning the franchise’s controversial ‘tomahawk chop’ rallying cry performed during games,” Fox News reports
Lawmakers, fans, and more called the Biden Administration out of touch.
Responses collected by Fox News:
“The @Braves should always be the Atlanta Braves. Go Braves and Keep Choppin’!” wrote Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, R.
Rep. Tim Burchett, R-Tenn., slammed the proposal as well, writing, “This is not the business of Washington,” and GOP Georgia Senate candidate Herschel Walker said “Georgia will not fall for woke Washington’s attempt to change the name of the greatest baseball team in America. The reigning and future World Series Champs @Braves should NOT change their name.”
Burt Jones, who is running to become Georgia’s next lieutenant governor, tweeted Monday, “We’re not changing and we’re not apologizing for it either. Go Braves!”
Yes, that’s what Americans watching their 401Ks tank REALLY care about,” wrote former radio and television host John Cardillo.
Gerry Callahan, host of “The Gerry Callahan Show,” shared a similar opinion, writing, “Every time I look [at] my disappearing 401K, I think, ‘Damn, we really have to do something about the name of the frigging baseball team in Atlanta.’
“The Braves have long touted their partnership with the Native American community, particularly the Eastern Band of the Cherokee nation, based approximately three hours from Atlanta in North Carolina,” Fox reports.
More over at Fox News:
Twitter roasts Biden White House for suggesting 'conversation' on renaming Atlanta Braves: 'Out of touch' https://t.co/r9A1YLgzJr
— Fox News (@FoxNews) September 27, 2022