The controversy over Native American names in professional and collegiate sports has been a hot topic for years and it reached the White House on Monday, when President Biden hosted the Atlanta Braves, winners of last year’s World Series.
Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was asked about the controversy surrounding the team’s name and their tomahawk chop celebration.
Over the past few years, teams like the Washington Commanders and Cleveland Guardians have changed their names due to them being considered racist and offensive to Native Americans, but the Braves have true to form.
Jean-Pierre explained that this conversation is one the administration is willing to have.
“We believe that it’s important to have this conversation and Native American and indigenous voices, they should be at the center of this conversation,” she told reporters.
“That is something that the president believes, that is something that this administration believes, and he has consistently emphasized that all people deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. You hear that often from this president. The same is true here, and we should listen to Native American and indigenous people who are the most impacted by this.”
Last season when the Braves were making their way through the postseason, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred was asked about putting an end to the tomahawk chop. Manfred claimed that the Native American community “is wholly supportive” of the team and chop after he consulted with a local Cherokee tribe.
“The Native American community in that region is wholly supportive of the Braves program, including the chop,” Manfred said at the time. “For me, that’s kind of the end of the story. In that market, we’re taking into account the Native American community.”
The Braves temporarily stopped the chop during the 2019 NLDS.
However, Trusit Park has shown tomahawk images with accompanying music to go along with it for fans to perform the chop.
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