Opinion | Sports

Ed Rice: Cleveland team comes up with excuse for racist mascot






Louis Sockalexis, who was a member of the Penobscot Nation is considered the first Native American to play in major league baseball. Image from Shadows and Light

Ed Rice, the author of Baseball’s First Indian, continues to call on the Cleveland baseball team to eliminate its racist mascot:
As the author of his biography, Baseball's First Indian, I was also fortunate enough to have a meeting then – at their request – with two Cleveland Indians executives, Curtis Danburg, senior director of communications, and Robert DiBiasio, vice president of public affairs, and a college intern doing a summer stint with the team.

Both team officials, understanding that it is not negotiable with me that the team continue its use of an inappropriate nickname or a racist caricature logo, hoped we could continue to find some more common ground for moving forward in properly showing [Louis] Sockalexis respect. I have already helped – eliminating errors from the text of the Sockalexis biography in the team’s media guide, correcting inappropriate labeling on a painting of Sock at the park, and providing a far more suitable portrait of him for display at Progressive Field.

Though I had to bite my tongue when I heard this, I was especially incensed when I heard DiBiasio state what appears to be the new team “strategy” for continuing its use of Chief Wahoo: The team, he said, has had its uniform design recently approved by Major League Baseball. And, according to MLB rules, teams must not make any changes for three more years.

What complete cowards the Dolan family ownership members are, sending out their representatives to essentially say, “Well, we can’t put an end to the controversy now…because of MLB rules.”

But not so fast, please.

Get the Story:
Ed Rice: Chief Wahoo vs. Baseball's First Indian Player (Indian Country Today 4/24)

Related Stories:
Ed Rice: Honoring a true Cleveland Indian -- Louis Sockalexis (09/23)
Ed Rice: Maine schools show lack of respect with Indian mascots (03/31)
Ed Rice: Cleveland team owes debt to Penobscot Nation (01/14)