Sports analyst Bomani Jones wanted to make a statement about the Cleveland Indians’ team logo: the grinning Chief Wahoo.
While guest hosting ESPN’s Mike & Mike show on Thursday, Jones went on air wearing a t-shirt with a pale, blond-haired version of Chief Wahoo sporting a dollar sign instead of a feather in his headband. It also had the word “Caucasians” written across the front.
TMZ reported that ESPN asked Jones to cover his t-shirt. Later in the show, Jones’ hoodie was zipped, partially hiding the parody of Chief Wahoo.
The Huffington Post said it received this statement from the network:
“As the show progressed, we felt Bomani made his point and had openly discussed why he was wearing the shirt, and we wanted to keep the focus to the topics of the day.”
The Cleveland Indians have been under fire for years from people who call the team’s logo racist. According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, team owner Paul Dolan recently made a compromise and is scaling back its use of Chief Wahoo. But he underscored that there’s “no plans to get rid of Chief Wahoo, it is part of our history and legacy.”
The Cleveland Indians marked its 100th season last year. On opening day, a group of Native Americans voiced their anger. The Guardian reported that protesters used bullhorns to vent at fans wearing Chief Wahoo logos as they entered the stadium: “Your outfits are racist, stop wearing red faces!”
Philip Yenyo, executive director of the American Indian Movement of Ohio, complained to the Guardian that the team’s response to its ongoing protest has always been “tradition,” but Yenyo says that excuse is unacceptable.