Atlanta Braves discussing use of “Tomahawk Chop“
At a time when change seems evident to offensive team names and controversial traditions, the Atlanta Braves are taking steps to address their brand. While they won’t change the team’s name, per The Athletic, the “Tomahawk Chop” could be on its way out.
The Braves are holding internal discussions about the use of the “Tomahawk Chop”, which fans have used as a celebration and method to rally the team since 1991. The team has routinely given out foam tomahawks to fans at games, becoming part of the somewhat recent tradition that is seen as a caricature of Native Americans.
The gesture came under renewed criticism during the 2019 postseason when St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Ryan Helsley, a member of the Cherokee Nation, called the chop disrespectful and “a misrepresentation of the Cherokee people or Native Americans in general.”
While the Braves have stopped giving out the foam tomahawk, the team still has a restaurant called the “Chop House” at Truist Park and plays the music over the PA system to help encourage fans to do the chop.
The National Congress of American Indians and the principal chief of the Cherokee Nation have both called for the team to end its use of the offensive gesture.
While the Braves might be sticking by their team name, it looks likelier than ever that the chop tradition will be coming to an end.