Cleveland Indians Face Possible $9B Lawsuit From Native American Group
The Washington Redskins aren't the only professional sports team under fire because of a controversial name and logo.
The Cleveland Indians are facing a potential $9 billion lawsuit from the American Indian Education Center and the People Not Mascots group because of the offensive logo and the misuse of the name. The American Indian Education Center, in Ohio, has voiced its displeasure over multiple team names in the past.
The team has been called the Indians since the 1915 Major League Baseball season and has had many team symbols depicting Native Americans. The biggest uniform change came in 1951, when the team permanently changed the face to the red skin we see today. Since then, it has been almost as widely criticized as the Redskins logo.
In a recent interview, Robert Roche said, "We're going to be asking for $9 billion, and we're basing it on a hundred years of disparity, racism, exploitation and profiteering. It's been offensive since day one. We are not mascots. My children are not mascots. We are people."
Of course, money is always in play -- for both sides. The Indian on the baseball cap is known as "Chief Wahoo." The team has been the Cleveland Indians since 1915, but team hats had just a C on them -- represented the city of Cleveland, of course. The Indians only replaced that C with Chief Wahoo on their caps in 1986.
Why is this significant?
It's financially relevant because since the franchise switched from the C to the Indian face logo on baseball hats in 1986, sales have skyrocketed. Do you think Indians owner Larry Dolan and team businessmen would want to change that? Also, many Indians fans want to keep the name and logo the same -- and many want to change both.
The Indians have never been a very outspoken team (like the Redskins), but they can't ignore this. If public opposition continues, the team may have to change its logo and name to avoid bad public relations.
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