Major League Baseball says the Cleveland Indians will stop using the Chief Wahoo logo on their uniforms starting in the 2019 season.
The league says the logo, which features a smiling Native American, is not appropriate for field use.
The league has had discussions with the Indians in hopes that the franchise move away from the logo, which had been used in some capacity for the franchise since the 1947 season and was still prevalent on the team's baseball caps and on its uniforms. Critics say the logo is racist.
"Major League Baseball is committed to building a culture of diversity and inclusion throughout the game,” MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. “Over the past year, we encouraged dialogue with the Indians organization about the club’s use of the Chief Wahoo logo. During our constructive conversations, Paul Dolan made clear that there are fans who have a longstanding attachment to the logo and its place in the history of the team."
Cleveland will still sell merchandise featuring the mascot; that is necessary if Major League Baseball and the Indians want to maintain the trademark.
"We have consistently maintained that we are cognizant and sensitive to both sides of the discussion,” Cleveland Indians owner Paul Dolan said in a statement issued by MLB “While we recognize many of our fans have a longstanding attachment to Chief Wahoo, I’m ultimately in agreement with Commissioner Manfred’s desire to remove the logo from our uniforms in 2019.”
Dolan had previously admitted that the team and league didn't see eye to eye on the subject, but promised the Indians organization would come to some resolution concerning the logo.
The logo created controversy during the 2016 American League Championship Series against the Toronto Blue Jays, when a Canadian judge ruled the “Chief Wahoo” mascot did not illegally discriminate against indigenous people under Canadian law.
The ruling allowed the Indians to keep the uniforms that displayed the logo while the team played in Toronto.