The Atlanta Braves haven't used their "Screaming Indian" logo in any capacity since 1989. Today, some 23 years later, they're bringing the offensive Native American imagery back — not that anyone in particular was asking for it. "The Braves first started using the logo in 1954 ... It was used in various capacities until 1989. The team stopped using it at least in part because of pressure from groups that find the use of Native American imagery on sports uniforms offensive and dehumanizing," reported AOL's Sporting News. Now, judging from the Internet and reactions so far, there was no grassroots initiative or Kickstarter petition clamoring for the logo. These are the first few reactions when you plug "Atlanta Braves" into Twitter (yours may look different):
Sports writers don't want this logo to come back either. Paul Lukas at ESPN:
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
Lukas runs ESPN's "Uni Watch" feature where he grades team uniforms. His sentiment was shared by Craig Calcaterra at NBC Sports:
For reasons that completely escape me given how the team has slowly eliminated native American iconography from their uniforms (i.e. getting rid of the tomahawk on the alternate jerseys, etc.), the Braves have unveiled a hideous BP cap with that old “screaming Indian” logo. Most of us had thought that they had canned that thing, but apparently not. Poor, poor form, Atlanta
And sometimes something this inexplicable can only be explained by sarcasm, which is where Bleacher Report's Timothy Rapp went:
I have a few guesses. Perhaps the Braves love bad publicity, incorrectly hoping that the common saying "There is no such thing as bad publicity" applies to sports teams. It doesn't.
Maybe somebody in the team's marketing department incorrectly surmised that the city of Atlanta loves stereotypical depictions of entire races of people.
Perhaps ownership was sick and tired of the Washington Redskins and their culturally insensitive name remaining the most offensive rendition of Native American culture in this country.
That said, the measure of the cap's success will be if sales outweigh the awful publicity the organization is already getting. And then we'll be able to see if the 23-year gamble was worth it.