Thursday, January 3, 2013

Atlanta Braves might bring back 'screaming Indian' logo on batting practice caps (Update)

Posted By on Thu, Jan 3, 2013 at 11:38 AM

Braves have yet to comment on the potential uproar
  • theunquietlibrarian/Flickr
  • Braves have yet to comment on the potential uproar
Twenty-four years ago, the Atlanta Braves laid to rest its so-called "screaming Indian" logo. It marked the end of an era in which the team featured an extremely insensitive Native American caricature on its uniforms - and made the Braves among the first sports clubs to phase out the intolerant portrayal of American Indians.

But now, more than two decades later, Atlanta's baseball squad has reportedly decided that it would be a good idea to revive the reprehensible screaming savage.

Yesterday, ESPN revealed what this year's new Major League Baseball batting practice caps might look like. Paul Lukas, who runs the website's Uni Watch blog, commented on the Braves' new apparel:

Last year the Braves conspicuously avoided using their "screaming Indian" logo as a sleeve patch on their retro alternate jersey - a welcome move for those of us who oppose the appropriation of Native American imagery in sports. Unfortunately, it turns out that the logo hasn't been permanently mothballed. Disappointing. Grade: F

The Braves were praised earlier this year for bringing back its retro jerseys while replacing the blatantly racist savage patch with a slightly less-offensive commemorative tomahawk symbol. In February, Yahoo Sports' Kevin Kaduk said that the logo "strips Native Americans of any humanity and turns them into a one-dimensional character devoid of any sympathy or tribute."

Major League Baseball, in a statement to CNN, said it has yet to finalize all 30 baseball teams' practice uniforms.

"We will unveil the program when it is finalized," the statement said. "We do not know where (ESPN) obtained the designs. We can not make them available to CNN because they are not finalized or approved."

The team has not commented on the brewing controversy. Should the team move forward with the throwback logo, it'd be a head-scratching decision.

UPDATE: Jan. 3, 11:17 a.m.: After receiving plenty of backlash last week, it appears that the Braves may reconsider the "screaming Indian" design. Paul Lukas, who originally broke the news last week, wrote on Uni Watch's website today:

Word I'm hearing through the grapevine is that last week's ESPN column on MLB's new BP caps generated so much controversy and backlash against the Braves' "screaming Indian" design that the team may end up switching to another cap logo. If that happens, expect MLB to issue lots of revisionist-history talking points about how the Indian design was just "one option we were exploring" and that it was "in development but never finalized" and that the Braves simply "opted to go in another direction" or some such. But take it from me: That design was (and, for now, still is) good to go. As of today, it's listed in the MLB Style Guide. If the Braves ultimately abandon it, it'll be because they responded to the backlash, period. Which, of course, is precisely what they should do. Here's hoping.

CL spoke with an Atlanta Braves official today, who deferred comments to Major League Baseball on the issue. We've reached out to a MLB spokesperson, and will post more details if we hear back.

This article was originally posted last Friday, but we changed the time of the post to reflect today's update.

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