With Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben's changing their logos due to racist origins, there have been ongoing discussions about other organizations that should make adjustments in 2020. Several sports teams have taken center stage, including the Atlanta Braves, Washington Redskins and Cleveland Indians. Sports fans and casual viewers alike believe that all of these sports teams have racist names and logos and should make a change to be less offensive.
While the Redskins generally lead the conversation about offensive names, the NFL team is far from the only franchise that has faced criticism. Several organizations spread across multiple leagues have previously changed their names, logos or mascots after public outcry. Some changes were as simple as removing an offensive logo while others required several meetings and completely altering the primary mascot. Here are seven of the teams that have previously made adjustments due to racist origins.
In 2003, Ole Miss revealed the retirement of longtime mascot, Col. Reb. The "southern gentleman" mascot had ties to the Old South, and the university wanted to distance itself from this era. Rebel the Bear replaced Col. Reb in 2010 and remained the mascot until 2017. Tony Landshark took over as the full-time mascot in 2017 and remains so in 2020.prevnext
Middle Tennessee State University
Middle Tennessee State University relies on a blue horse named Lightning as the mascot for football and basketball games, but this is a far cry from the original figure that roamed the sidelines. In 1950, MTSU began incorporating Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest. Students would dress up like Forrest and ride on horseback, and the yearbook prominently featured his likeness. In 1962, the university removed Forrest's name from the mascot but continued to use a Confederate soldier. MTSU changed mascots multiple times throughout the '60s, '70s and '80s while often incorporating infantry regalia. Ultimately, the decision to create Lightning took place in 1998.prevnext
The Indians previously relied on a logo and mascot named Chief Wahoo. This logo remained on the merchandise until 2018 when Cleveland made a change after losing to the Houston Astros in the American League Division Series. The team incorporated new uniforms ahead of the 2019 season and removed Chief Wahoo from the sleeves.prevnext
The Atlanta Braves have changed the primary logo several times throughout team history. The first logo, for example, was a side profile of a Native American warrior. The team later switched to a Native American brave with a feather headdress. Now the Braves have script text that sits atop a tomahawk logo.prevnext
California-based Stanford is known as the Cardinal (the color), but the team previously had a very different name. Stanford's teams used the Indians' name from 1930 until 1972. The University changed the mascot and name to Cardinal after meeting with Native American students who called the name an insult to their culture and heritage. Now Stanford relies on a tree as the mascot for each game.prevnext
San Diego State University Aztecs
In 2018, San Diego State University announced changes to the mascot. The University previously relied on "Monty" an Aztec warrior that roamed the sidelines of football games. Departing President Sally Roush said the team would retain the Aztec name but would create a more culturally-sensitive mascot. Monty still technically remains but is now a Spirit Leader instead of a mascot. Roush also pledged to find more "culturally-appropriate" icons that could improve the Spirit Leader. He is also used less frequently at sporting events.prevnext
Golden State Warriors
The Golden State Warriors adopted a logo featuring the Golden Gate Bridge when the team moved to San Francisco. This was the latest in a long line of changes and marked a vast departure from the controversial original designs from their Philadelphia days. The team formed in 1946 as the Philadelphia Warriors and remained so until 1962. During this era, the NBA team used a caricature of a Native American dribbling a basketball for the logo. The Warriors then transitioned to a headdress logo from 1962-1969 before switching to a California-centric design.prev