Game 1 of the World Series contest between the Atlanta Braves and the Houston Astros concluded with an Astros loss Tuesday night (October 26), but fans in Minute Maid Park still made their voices heard. Fans in the crowd fashioned signs towards the visiting Braves stating that the so-called “Tomahawk Chop” celebratory gesture is racist and should be done away with.
While the gesture has long been criticized by members of the indigenous nations and beyond, the “Tomahawk Chop” still persists as a part of the Atlanta Braves fan celebration scheme. As leaders of the nations and others have long asked sports teams to do away with racist names and imagery, there has been resistance and even culpability coming from the top of some of these organizations.
Rob Manfred has defended the Braves organization in so many words, taking steps to mention that the team has done work within the indigenous community and says that they support the use of the gesture.
“It’s important to understand that we have 30 markets around the country,” Manfred said at a media event ahead of Game 1. “They’re not all the same. The Braves have done a phenomenal job with the Native American community. The Native American community in that region is wholly supportive of the Braves program, including the chop. For me, that’s kind of the end of the story. In that market, taking into account the Native American community, it works.”
While the team has remained steadfast in saying they don’t intend to change the name, groups such as The National Council of American Indians have asked them to do so but are meeting longstanding resistance to change.