Columbus – Today, State Senator Eric H. Kearney introduced SCR 42 in the Ohio Senate to encourage the Cleveland professional baseball franchise, the Cleveland Indians, to adopt a new nickname and new mascot free of racial insensitivity.

“Over the years we’ve seen a number of sports teams, colleges, universities and organizations including Miami University of Ohio change their nickname due to the concerns of Native Americans and the perpetuation of stereotypes,” said Senator Kearney. “The continuing use of the Indians nickname and a stereotypical Native American caricature, such as Chief Wahoo, is an affront to Native Americans.”

Earlier this year, a Cleveland Plain Dealer editorial called for the Indians to retire their Chief Wahoo mascot. Most recently in April, the Plain Dealer reported that City Councilman Zach Reed called for the city to ban the display of the mascot Chief Wahoo on public property stating that the mascot is the “red equivalent of the racist, turn-of-the-century “Sambo” caricature.” 

“Cleveland’s professional baseball franchise is a great organization with a rich history” said Kearney. “By changing its name and mascot, the organization will be making a symbolic decision that would show that much has changed since 1915 when the name was adopted. I encourage the team not to pass on a legacy that carries racist undertones to future generations of fans.”

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), in 2005, the organization called for the immediate retirement of all American Indian mascots, symbols, images and personalities by schools, colleges, universities, athletic teams and organizations. The APA supports its position based on research that shows the “harmful effects of racial stereotyping and inaccurate racial portrayals, including the particularly harmful effects of American Indian sports mascots on the social identity development and self-esteem of American Indian Young people.”

In addition to sponsoring the resolution, Senator Kearney has sent a letter to the team’s owner Lawrence Dolan urging him to make the change.

Senator Kearney represents Ohio’s 9th district, which includes parts of Cincinnati, St. Bernard, Elmwood Place, Norwood, Golf Manor, Hollydale, Columbia Township, Silverton and Springfield Township.

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