The Atlanta Braves will not be changing their name anytime soon. However, there is pressure for the team to retire the Tomahawk Chop chant fans do during games. Fawn Sharp - leader of the National Congress of American Indians - recently spoke to TMZ about the issues with pro teams using Indian nicknames. When asked about the Tomahawk Chop, Sharp said that chant is offensive and hurtful.
"Yes, we have discussed it, and this is another issue where we really pay attention to our young people," Sharp said. "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." Sharp added the younger generation knows "the value of that and they see others making fun of it, it hurts them in a way that's even deeper than what we've experienced thus far." The Braves have had talks about the chant and will continue to do so moving forward.
"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 by the Braves read, which was sent to season ticket holders over the weekend. "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." Fans got a little taste of not doing to the chant when the team decided not to hand out Tomahawks to fans for Game 5 of the divisional round series against the St. Louis Cardinals last year. This decision was made when Cardinals pitcher Ryan Helsley, who his Native American spoke out against the chant. The Braves lost the game 13-1 and were eliminated from the playoffs.
If the Braves decided to do away with the chant, several things might have to change when it comes to marketing. One of the Braves' slogans is "Chop On," and it's decorated all over Truist Park. Also, there is a big drum behind center field, which is used for the chant. Another thing is the Braves aren't the only team to do the Tomahawk Chop chant as the Kansas City Chiefs have done it as well as the Florida State Seminoles.