Ahead of Game 1 of the World Series, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred defended the Braves' name and fan celebration 'The Chop,' saying the franchise has "done a phenomenal job with the Native American community."
"It’s important to understand that we have 30 markets around the country," Manfred said, per The Athletic. "They aren’t all the same. ... The Native American community in that region is wholly supportive of the Braves program, including 'The Chop.' For me, that’s kind of the end of the story. In that market, we’re taking into account the Native American community."
'The Chop' mimics the motion of throwing a tomahawk, which has been widely criticized by members of the Native American community including St. Louis Cardinals reliever Ryan Helsey.
"I think it's a misrepresentation of the Cherokee people or Native Americans in general," Helsley said during the 2019 postseason. "Just depicts them in this kind of caveman-type people way who aren't intellectual. 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 how we're perceived in that way, or used as mascots. The Redskins and stuff like that.''
Cleveland announced during the summer it would be changing its name to the Guardians after saying several months prior it would discontinue the use of "Indians" as its mascot following the 2021 season.
"We don’t market our game on a nationwide basis. Ours is an everyday game," Manfred said Tuesday. "You’ve gotta sell tickets every single day to the fans in that market. And there are all sorts of differences between the regions in terms of how the teams are marketed.”