In the wake of the Redskins and Indians going public about the possibility of changing their names because they are disrespectful to Native Americans, the Braves released a statement about their team name.
In the release, Atlanta said their team “honors, supports, and values the Native American community” but conceded there is “much work to do on and off the field.”
“We have also held meetings with our Native American Working Group which will collaborate with us on cultural issues, education and community outreach to amplify their voices and show our fans they are still proudly here,” the statement said. “The Atlanta Braves have a meaningful commitment to honor the Native American community and we are excited about working together to ensure this happens.”
The statement did not reference the team’s “tomahawk chop” gesture, which became an issue during last year’s NL Division Series when St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Ryan Helsley, a member of the Cherokee Nation, said he found the gesture and accompanying chant insulting. Calls to end the chop resumed this year during spring training, before MLB’s season was put on hold thanks to COVID-19. At the time, the Braves would not commit to abandoning the gesture.
“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 February. “Those discussions are ongoing, and we don’t expect to publicly comment on those private conversations.”
Now, with the Redskins and Indians possibly changing their names due to mounting pressure, perhaps the Braves will change their policy on the chop even if they won’t change their team name.
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