So in the glee of watching Boston get swept out of the postseason by Cleveland, something happened.
The hilarious irony that this was done on Columbus Day (perhaps the most bullshit American holiday) and the fact that a Dominican black man did it are two things that I will have to set aside.
( To read more about the complex and fascinating history of the indigenous people of the Dominican Republic, google "Taíno" and have at it. Race in Latin America is fascinating anyway. Concepts of race are fascinating everywhere. We are complex creatures.)
I'm not going to argue that Pedro Martínez wasn't dumb. He was dumb. I cringed when I watched it.
I will, however, argue that what Martínez did was no more offensive than Cleveland's name, mascot and logo.
That logo invites people to make that sound. That logo, if it had a sound, would make that sound. His name is Chief Wahoo. What other sound would he make?
So with Toronto and Cleveland facing off in the ALCS, some of these issues are being discussed.
So what’s the thing?
Somewhat interestingly, Washington’s NFL team has taken a lot more flack for their logo than Cleveland. The Daily Show did one of their most famous segments ever on that logo. (A segment frustratingly hard to find on the internet.)
And more recently John Oliver talked about the issue on his show
Cleveland has moved away from the logo in recent years, using mostly the block lettering “C” logo, though it isn't as gone as one might think. On their website, they have 2016 Postseason hats.
You can get this one
Or this one:
If I somehow ever have a one on one with Mark Shapiro, if I somehow was able to get him to tell me the truth about it, I’d ask him about the backroom discussions about this thing.
Jerry Howarth was on the Jeff Blair Show this morning and discussed his decision two decades ago to never use the names of the two baseball teams (Cleveland and Atlanta) that reference and stereotype Native Americans. He said he received a letter after the ‘92 World Series from a Native listener in Northern Ontario who described how offensive he found Atlanta’s whole brand.
The @ replies to this tweet:
are incredibly dumb.
Why is this important?
There are serious issues facing First Nations people in Canada. Issues that seem completely unfathomable to the average Canadian in 2016.
Go to your tap. Turn the water on. You can probably drink what comes out with no worries.
I’ve heard more casual racism about the native population in this country than I have about any other race. From a variety of different people and ages.
I don’t think we have the right to stereotype them and co-opt and devalue their culture for our sports teams. Especially since getting them clean water in an industrialised country in 2016 has proved so beyond our capabilities.
Better way to combine First Nations and baseball?
As an aside, my dad spent his teen years just down the highway from Six Nations of the Grand River. He used to play baseball against reserve kids and told me a lot of those kids could really play.
More baseball. More baseball for everyone who wants it.
This is a Canadian First Nation dubstep group called A Tribe Called R.E.D. They released this earlier in the summer and it features Yasiin Bey (who used to be Mos Def).
Their stuff should be blasted in the Rogers Centre. It’s perfect hype music.
This is Tanya Tagaq, an Inuk throat singer, one of the most unique artists in Canada or anywhere.. Her music is otherworldly.
They used this for a battle scene in Vikings, so you know Josh Donaldson is probably down.