Atlanta Braves Facing Pressure to End “Tomahawk Chop” as Spring Training Approaches

The controversial "chop" last came under fire during the 2019 playoffs

Atlanta Braves Facing Pressure to End "Tomahawk Chop"
Atlanta Braves fans doing the "Tomahawk Chop" during a game. (Kevin Liles/Getty)
Getty Images
By Evan Bleier / February 10, 2020 12:09 pm

With the Atlanta Braves set to begin spring training activities this week along with the rest of Major League Baseball, calls for the team to do away with its “tomahawk chop” have begun anew.

The controversial “chop,” which came under fire during the 2019 playoffs and led to the team not distributing free foam tomahawks to fans before Game 5 of the National League Division Series as they typically do in the postseason, has drawn criticism from groups including The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) and Cherokee Nation as well as MLB players with Native American ancestry.

Despite that, the Braves have not indicated any permanent policy change is on the way and the tomahawk chop seems like it will still take place during Atlanta’s first homestand at the beginning of April.

“We stated at the end of the season that we would continue to work with the Native American community,” the Braves told The Athletic in a brief statement. “Those discussions are ongoing, and we don’t expect to publicly comment on those private conversations.”

It’s unclear if the Braves have reached out to discuss the situation or any potential policy change with any of the organizations involved.

“Unfortunately, many Americans’ only exposure to supposed Native American peoples and cultures comes in the form of grossly distorting and dehumanizing imagery found at sports stadiums across the country,” NCAI CEO Kevin Allis told The Athletic. “It dismisses the reality of Native America, both historically and today. We count among our number more than 600 tribal nations with full-fledged governments, vibrant cultures and diverse communities. We are so much more than these mascots and their associated rituals reduce us to, and so much different than how they portray us.”

The NAACP passed a resolution calling for the end of the use of Native American nicknames, images and mascots in 1999.

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