The Atlanta Braves will host the St. Louis Cardinals in a do-or-die Game 5 of the NLDS on Wednesday.
The backdrop here is renewed controversy over the Braves’ tomahawk chop manta. A vast majority of people find it offensive to North America’s indigenous population.
That includes Cardinals pitcher Ryan Helsley, who is a member of Cherokee Nation.
“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 said after Game 1, via Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “They are a lot more than that. 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 Redskins and stuff like that.”
Atlanta has now responded and will not hand out foam tomahawks to fans for Game 5. The team also announced that it will not play native-based music when the reliever is in the game.
For some, this won’t go far enough. Braves fans will likely continue with their decades’ long tomahawk chop during the game.
At some point, this will likely have to be addressed moving forward. Though, this is a good first step.