Culture

SJW Seeks Canadian Court Order Banning Cleveland Indians' Chief Wahoo at MLB Playoff Games

Image via Twitter/Indians

See below for an update. 

You can almost set your clock by these social justice warriors. If there is some fun activity that is bringing people great joy—an occasion where for a few hours Americans are not at each other’s throats—you can guarantee that some social justice warrior will appear, grim reaper-like out of nowhere, to put and end to it. Only this time it’s a Canadian trying to screw up an American pastime.

Canadian SJW Douglas Cardinal is seeking a court order that would prohibit the Cleveland Indians from wearing their team jerseys, displaying their Chief Wahoo logo—or even using their team name—when they play in the American League Championship Series games against the Blue Jays in Toronto this week.

Cardinal, who has been described as an “indigenous activist” and an “officer of the Order of Canada,” claims that the Indians’ mascot, Chief Wahoo, and even the team’s name, are discriminatory and offensive and he has asked the Ontario Superior Court, the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, and the Canadian Human Rights Commission to step in and ban them for the upcoming series. Cleveland leads the Blue Jays in the 7-game series two games to none.

James Fuller, a spokesman for Cardinal, told the National Post that the Indians should just be referred to as “the Cleveland team” during the upcoming games.

In his application, Cardinal seeks an injunction against the Cleveland Indians, Major League Baseball, and Rogers Communications, which is scheduled to broadcast the games between the Indians and the Blue Jays beginning on Monday. Rogers also owns the team, as well as Rogers Centre, where the games will be played. A hearing will be held Monday to consider Cardinal’s Superior Court application.

Like several other teams whose names or logos have offended certain sensitive individuals and groups, the Cleveland Indians have been under pressure to get rid of their mascot, which activists say is a native American caricature, and also their name, which some say is disrespectful to indigenous people. The Cleveland Indians organization has been downplaying the use of Chief Wahoo on team uniforms and in merchandising and promotions this year. The cartoonish Chief has been phased out in favor a “Block C.” Team owner Paul Dolan told the Plain Dealer in April that the Block C would be the primary logo, although there were “no plans to get rid of Chief Wahoo, it is part of our history and legacy.”

Despite the use of the Block C during the regular season, the Tribe’s playoff uniforms prominently display Chief Wahoo on the hat and the left shoulder of the jersey of both the home and away uniforms. A court order on Monday banning the uniforms would force the team to scramble to come up with alternative uniforms at the last minute.

Fuller said that shouldn’t be a problem because he is “under the impression” that the team has other uniforms.

Actually, I don’t think that’s true. I’m sure someone will correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m fairly sure that all of the uniforms have the Chief Wahoo shoulder patch and only one jersey doesn’t have the “offensive” Indians name emblazoned across the chest.

Not only that, but baseball players are notoriously superstitious. Some have been known to forgo shaving, changing their underwear, and even showering during a playoff run rather than risk jinxing a stretch of good luck. The Indians are thus far undefeated in the playoffs, having mowed down the Boston Red Sox in four three games in the American League Division Series and taking the first two from the Blue Jays.

But Douglas Cardinal’s lawyer, Michael Swinwood, doesn’t care about baseball traditions or superstitions. “We should be displaying more consciousness in the choices we make in relation to logos,” he said. “It’s offensive to indigenous people, and it needs to be addressed.” Right now, in the middle of the American League Championship Series because there’s a place where people are having fun, enjoying Kumbaya American moments, and it must be stopped! 

“It’s much deeper and more profound than a logo being offensive. It’s really an indicator of why that relationship [between First Nations peoples and society at large] is so flawed. Because there’s this lack of recognition of what the true conditions of native peoples have been over the last 500 years.” Fine, but weren’t there eleven other months you could have had this public hissy fit?

Aaron Lazarus, a spokesperson for Rogers Communications, said in a statement that it would be “virtually impossible” to broadcast the game without displaying the team logo “on the field, in the stands and in the stadium.”

Lazarus also said that the company understands “the Cleveland name and logo is a concern for a number of Canadians,” but added, “the playoff series between the Jays and Cleveland is also significantly important to millions of passionate baseball fans across Canada. Punishing these fans by blocking the broadcast of the games doesn’t seem like the right solution.”

The Indians organization has not yet commented. I’ll comment. The Indians have not won a World Series since nineteen flippin’ forty-eight. Leave our uniforms alone!

The fact that Major League Baseball could be subject to the whims of a foreign tribunal—one that’s notoriously antithetical to American values—seems as good a reason as any to consider eliminating that team up north from the league. We’ve got enough whiny SJWs of our own to deal with here. We don’t a bunch of Canadian busybody’s screwing up one of the few things bringing anyone any pleasure during this awful election season.

Update: On Monday afternoon an Ontario judge blocked Cardinal’s attempt to ban the Chief Wahoo logo and use of the Indians’ name during the playoff games in Toronto. Ontario Superior Court Justice Tom McEwen dismissed Cardinal’s application and said he would explain his reasons at a later date.

According to the Associated Press, “At least 27 lawyers representing the Cleveland Indians, Major League Baseball and others, including the plaintiffs, attended the hearing, which was moved to a larger court room to accommodate the crowd.”

In a statement, Major League baseball said it “appreciates the concerns” of those who are offended by the name and the logo.

“We would welcome a thoughtful and inclusive dialogue to address these concerns outside the context of litigation,” the statement said. “Given the demands for completing the League Championship Series in a timely manner, MLB will defend Cleveland’s right to use their name that has been in existence for more than 100 years.”

Associated Press:

Kent Thomson, a lawyer for Rogers, told the judge that Rogers would have to black out the game in Canada because they can’t control what TBS shows during the game.

“It would punish millions and millions of Canadians, Blue Jays fans, and owners of bars and restaurants across the country,” Thomson said.

He said the case was sprung on them late Friday night and noted that Cardinal won’t even be watching the game because he’s in China.

Markus Koehnen, a lawyer for MLB, said it would be absurd for an Ontario court judge to order a major league team to alter its uninform. He noted that Andrew Miller was acquired during the season and doesn’t even have a Cleveland spring training uniform.

“This is very, very unusual. A superior court judge telling a MLB team to find another uniform,” he said.

Indians spokesman Curtis Dansburg said the team is focused on the playoffs and “will not comment any further on matters that distract from our pursuit on the field.”

Game Three of the ALCS went on as planned—with the Indians donning their blue jerseys emblazoned with “Indians” and Chief Wahoo smiling from their ball caps. The Tribe beat the Blue Jays 4-2 in a hard-won victory after losing pitcher Trevor Bauer, who began bleeding from a recent drone injury, in the first inning.