Atlanta Braves Tell Fans They Won’t Change Name, But May Change Cheer
The Atlanta Braves reached out to their fanbase last night, sharing in a lengthy statement why they won't change the team name but may change the tomahawk cheer frequently heard and performed by the crowd at home games.
In an e-mail sent to Braves season-ticket holders last night, the organization shared the following:
"The Atlanta Braves honors, respects and values the Native American community. As an organization, we have always drawn strength from our diversity and respect for everyone. That will never change.
"We have had an active and supportive relationship with the Native American community for many years. Last fall, we furthered this relationship and pledged to meet and listen to Native American and tribal leaders from many areas, including the Eastern Band of the Cherokees [EBCI] in North Carolina. As a result, we formed a cultural working relationship with the EBCI and have also formed a Native American Working Group with a diverse collection of other tribal leaders to collaborate on matters related to culture, education, outreach, and recognition on an on-going basis.
"Through our conversations, changing the name of the Braves is not under consideration or deemed necessary. We have great respect and reverence for our name and the Native American communities that have held meaningful relationships with us do as well. We will always be the Atlanta Braves.
"As it relates to the fan experience, including the chop, it is one of the many issues that we are working through with the advisory group. The chop was popularized by our fans when Deion Sanders joined our team and it continues to inspire our players on the field. With that in mind, we are continuing to listen to the Native American community, as well as our fans, players, and alumni to ensure we are making an informed decision on this part of our fan experience."
I'm not sure why it was necessary to add the part about Deion Sanders, but overall, the statement doesn't come as a surprise.
The Braves announcement comes at the same time the NFL's team in Washington D.C. released a statement today saying they were officially dropping the team name "Redskins", which is offensive and racially insensitive toward the Native American community.