Cleveland Indians owner, chairman and CEO Paul Dolan recently spoke to a group of people at Temple Emanu El Brotherhood’s 27th annual Sports Night. One of the issues that came up was the team’s continued use of the controversial Chief Wahoo.
“Dolan said (commissioner Rob) Manfred had reached out to the franchise about its logo, particularly after a Canadian lawsuit was filed against the team and MLB for using the logo during the playoffs against the Toronto Blue Jays in October,” Ed Carroll of Cleveland Jewish News said. “Dolan said he favors a reduced use of Wahoo without eliminating the logo, but he suspects the logo will be resolved one way or the other within a couple of years.”
This is a strange side to take.
Let’s get one thing clear. This isn’t a plea to the Indians to get rid of the Chief Wahoo mascot. But it’s hard to believe that there’s really a middle ground on this issue or that things will change much in a couple of years.
Really, Dolan has two options here.
Option 1: Agree that Chief Wahoo is offensive. If the owner of the team is going to take that stance, then he should get rid of Chief Wahoo as soon as possible.
Option 2: Decide to stick it out with Chief Wahoo. Cite whatever stats you want about the fans of the team who like it. Say that you don’t want to do away with such a big part of the team’s history.
Dolan can say or do whatever he needs to justify the stance he takes. But he needs to take a stance and go all in with it.
An understanding of the middle ground is something that we generally lack as a society. In a way, it makes sense. After all, it’s hard to be overly rational when you only get 140 characters. Most issues that we deal with today need a better understanding of the middle ground.
But this really isn’t one of them. This is one that should be dealt with by taking a single strong stance. Sure, that will upset the other side. But the only thing that trying to find middle ground and waiting a few years does is agitate both sides. That’s a really bad idea.