*As the Indian Country Post notes, “every year since the 1970s, Natives have protested the Cleveland Indians’ name and mascot Chief Wahoo.” Additionally, they have never been impressed by fans of the team who are known to wear red face dressed as Wahoo.
Two years ago, a photo went viral of Cleveland-based American Indian Movement activist Robert Roche and Indians fan Pedro Rodriguez in full on racist garb: red face and a fake headdress while wearing a T-shirt that read, “Fear the Chief.” Rodriguez claimed he “was honoring” Roche.
This year, Rodriguez would ask Roche’s forgiveness and admit he was wrong for dressing in red face. Although Rodriguez said he would no longer use red face, he would still support the team and their mascot. In other words, he won’t dress the part but he will still support the racist logo. ESPN’s Bomani Jones would like to help fans such as Rodriguez see the hypocrisy in their judgement, by forcing them to do a bit of self-reflection as they gaze upon his controversial “Caucasians” T-shirt.
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Jones appeared in an extra segment following his time on Mike and Mike on Thursday morning to explain his t-shirt that read “Caucasians.” The shirt drew attention for the statement it makes about the Cleveland Indians’ logo. The fact the he had to defend his shirt against angry white folks online speaks on how delusional many tend to be when they are forced to examine their support of racism and racist propaganda.
As Jones says in the interview, “It’s just like the Cleveland Indians shirt — exactly like the Cleveland Indians shirt with one small change.”
Jones continued to ESPN’s Molly Qerim:
“To have a problem with the logo of this (pointing to his shirt) would be to have a problem with the Indians. But if you’re quiet about the Indians but have something to say about my shirt, I think it’s time for introspection.”
Jones also spoke about other Native American-based mascots in sports:
“The tomahawk on the Braves jersey — I grew up rooting for that team. There’s no defense for doing that. Like the Indians logo. There’s no defense for doing that… Why would you make these people a mascot? Well, it’s based on the stereotypes we’ve had of them in the past. What would be the justification for keeping them — or the need. And then Washington, where it’s just a slur — a flat-out slur.”
Share your thoughts about Jones’ “Caucasians” T-shirt in the comments below.