(my 2005 proposal that Cleveland introduce a new mascot based on a popular local icon still require has gone unrecognized by the region’s largest daily).
In the eyes of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer’s editorial board, merely de-emphasizing the Indians’ Chief Wahoo caricature isn’t going nearly enough. “A demeaning symbol is a demeaning symbol, regardless of degree,” argues Friday’s editorial. “It’s a little unsettling that it hasn’t happened by now. Why cling to Wahoo when it so clearly offends?”
One might wonder whether, if Greater Cleveland were a faster-growing region, if it didn’t feel so defensive about its hard-luck professional sports teams, it would have found the collective self-esteem before now to part willingly with Wahoo.
But the Indians shouldn’t wait to win a World Series or for the city to hit boom times to discover the well of decency and understanding within itself to dump the Chief.
The team should do it now. Take the heat. Deal with the backlash. Move on. It can be done thoughtfully, by simply acknowledging the mixed emotions of all involved.
Then the city and the team can send a message to the world that it gets it. And Indians fans, all of them, can root for the team, unconditionally.