TORONTO — Cleveland Indians fans in Toronto for a crucial playoff game against the Blue Jays said the team”s name and logo are not offensive and should not be changed.
Sarah Johnston said the team”s moniker has been the same “forever” and isn”t an issue in Cleveland.
“I honestly haven”t heard a thing about it until I came to Canada,” she said.
The controversy made its way to an Ontario court before Monday”s Game 3 in the American League Championship Series.
An indigenous activist sought to have a court ban the use of Cleveland”s full name and its logo, which features a smiling cartoon man with red skin and a feather in a headband.
An Ontario judge ruled the team would be able to use the name and logo during its playoff series with the Blue Jays.
“The name honours Native Americans — it celebrates their culture,” said Johnston, who added that she is not aboriginal.
Douglas Cardinal, the man who filed the legal challenge, completely disagrees.
“I hope that, one day, the Cleveland team”s ownership will realize that its racist name and logo has got to go — entirely,” he said in a statement.
Yet several other Cleveland fans shared Johnston”s feelings outside the Rogers Centre on Monday.
“There just isn”t much controversy about it in Cleveland,” said Thompson, who drove up from Ohio for the game. “This is the first I”m hearing about it.”
About two dozen Cleveland fans approached by The Canadian Press did not want to talk about the brewing controversy.
Connor Kelly lamented the controversy, first defending the name, but conceding it may be time for the logo, named Chief Wahoo, to go.
“It seems to upset some people and maybe it”s time the team changes it,” he said, pulling off his Indians hat and looking at the logo.
Blue Jays fans agreed it was time to change the name.
“This really is just a game and the name is offensive, so why not change it?” said Michael Barnes.
“Just because its been the name for a long time, doesn”t mean it”s right.”
Cleveland uses a generic “C” logo from time to time on its hats, but predominantly uses Chief Wahoo, as it has in the playoffs this year.
The “C” logo was used on the Rogers Centre”s scoreboard Monday night.