Things will be a little different for Atlanta Braves fans once they are allowed to watch games at Truist Park. On Sunday, it was discovered that the "Chop On" sculpture that sat outside the stadium was removed by the team. Jeff Schultz of The Athletic shared the news on Twitter and asked the Braves about the removal of the sculpture, which also featured a tomahawk. Schultz said the team has not responded to his requests for comment.
This move could mean more changes will be happening at Truist Park this season. "Chop On" has been a slogan for the Braves for the last few years. But with the Washington NFL team retiring the Redskins name and logo, the Braves were a few of the teams looked at about their future with the nickname and their in-game atmosphere. In an email to season ticket holders, the Braves said they will continue to talk about the use of the tomahawk chop chant.
Quasi update on “The Chop”: This wood sculpture outside the Braves’ stadium near the third base entrance has been removed. I asked the Braves about it but they have chosen not to respond to requests for comment. @TheAthleticATL @TheAthleticMLB pic.twitter.com/ZdqKUP91um— Jeff Schultz (@JeffSchultzATL) July 19, 2020
"The chop was popularized by our fans when Deion Sanders joined our team, and it continues to inspire our players on the field," the statement read. "With that in mind, we are continuing to listen to the Native American community, as well as our fans, players, and alumni to ensure we are making an informed decision on this part of our fan experience." As for the name, the Braves said that's not going to change.
"Recently, there have been reports in the news regarding various team names in the world of sports. We wanted to let you know directly from us where we stand," the Braves stated. The statement went on to say they "formed a Native American Working Group with a diverse collection of other tribal leaders to collaborate on matters related to culture, education, outreach, and recognition on an on-going basis."
The tomahawk chop celebration has been part of the Braves since 1991 which was the start of their run of 14 consecutive division titles. Eliminating the chant may not sit well with fans, but one Native American Congressperson said the Braves should have the chop retired. "Yes, we have discussed it, and this is another issue where we really pay attention to our young people," Fawn Sharp, leader of the National Congress of American Indians, said to TMZ. "We have a generation that's being born into a society that's learning our languages. For centuries we were punished for speaking our language."