News, Culture & Society

Braves axe tomahawks after Cardinals pitcher calls them ‘disrespectful’ to his Cherokee heritage

Braves axe novelty tomahawks and the team’s famous chant for tonight’s Cardinals game after opponent’s star pitcher calls the symbol ‘disrespectful’ to his Cherokee heritage

  • Atlanta said it won’t distribute foam tomahawks during its game against the St. Louis Cardinals tonight out of respect for pitcher Ryan Helsley, who is Cherokee
  • Helsley told reporters on Friday that the tomahawk display is a ‘misrepresentation of the Cherokee people or Native Americans in general’
  • He said it ‘ depicts them in this kind of caveman-type people way who aren’t intellectual. … It’s just disrespectful, I think’
  • The Braves issued a statement Wednesday saying they would ‘take several efforts to reduce the Tomahawk Chop’ during the game 

The Atlanta Braves have agreed to try to limit the use of their famous ‘tomahawk chop’ chant during their game tonight against the Cardinals in response to recent remarks made by a St. Louis player who is Native American.

Rookie pitcher Ryan Helsley, 25, who is Cherokee, said he was upset by how indigenous people are used as mascots in sports by teams like the Braves and the Washington Redskins.

Helsley’s remarks came a day after he took the mound against the Braves in Atlanta as fans performed their long-time chant, complete with the waving of novelty foam tomahawks.

‘I think it’s a misrepresentation of the Cherokee people or Native Americans in general, just depicts them in this kind of caveman-type people way who aren’t intellectual,’ Helsley told the St. Louis Dispatch on Friday.

The Atlanta Braves have agreed to try to limit the use of their famous ‘tomahawk chop’ chant during their game tonight against the Cardinals in response to recent remarks made by a St. Louis player who is Native American

Rookie pitcher Ryan Helsley, 25, who is Cherokee, told reporters on friday that  it bothers him how indigenous people are used as mascots in sports by teams like the Braves and the Washington Redskins

Rookie pitcher Ryan Helsley, 25, who is Cherokee, told reporters on friday that  it bothers him how indigenous people are used as mascots in sports by teams like the Braves and the Washington Redskins

The Braves responded to Helsley's comments on Wednesday saying the team won't distribute foam tomahawks to seated fans the way it normally does for its latest game against the Cardinals.

The Braves responded to Helsley’s comments on Wednesday saying the team won’t distribute foam tomahawks to seated fans the way it normally does for its latest game against the Cardinals.

‘It’s not me being offended by the whole mascot thing. It’s not. It’s about the misconception of us, the Native Americans, and it devalues us and how we’re perceived in that way, or used as mascots.’ 

The Braves responded to Helsley’s comments on Wednesday saying the team won’t distribute foam tomahawks to seated fans the way it normally does for its latest game against the Cardinals.

The team also said it won’t use tomahawk chop-related graphics and won’t play its chop-chant music  when Helsley is on the field. 

‘Out of respect for the concerns expressed by Mr. Helsley, we will take several efforts to reduce the Tomahawk Chop during our in-ballpark presentation today,’ the team said in a statement reported by WSB-TV.

Helsley told reporters on Friday that the tomahawk display is a 'misrepresentation of the Cherokee people or Native Americans in general'

Helsley told reporters on Friday that the tomahawk display is a ‘misrepresentation of the Cherokee people or Native Americans in general’

A 2016 picture of Helsley (center) with his Cherokee Nation family on his Facebook page

A 2016 picture of Helsley (center) with his Cherokee Nation family on his Facebook page 

‘We will continue to evaluate how we activate elements of our brand, as well as the overall in-game experience. We look forward to a continued dialogue with those in the Native American community after the postseason concludes.’

The NL Central division-leading Cardinals are crushing the Braves 13-1 right now in the bottom of the fourth inning.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


Comments are closed.