Saturday, April 5, 2014

Wahoo De-Chiefing

This image ends the whole "is Chief Wahoo racist?" argument. 


Whenever some sports moron here in Cleveland wails about PC liberals taking all the fun out of everything, or brays that Wahoo was meant to "honor" Native Americans, or that it isn't racist at all but rather a beloved symbol of their youth and walking to games holding Dad's hand blah blah.... this photo should be pasted right after those comments.

The man on the right is Robert Roche, of the Apache Nation. He was part of a group of 20 or so protestors who gathered outside Progressive Field at the home opener yesterday, as they do every year, to protest the continued use of the Indians' bright, red jigaboo mascot, the nauseating Chief Wahoo.

The man on the left in redface and feathered headgear is Pedro Rodriguez, from a Cleveland suburb, who made the oh-so-foolish decision to confront the protestors and turn himself into the living embodiment of fanboy idiocy. The dude is 45 years old! And a minority himself. How would he feel if someone came up to HIM in a Frito Bandito get-up? I'm betting he wouldn't react with as much dignity as Robert Roche. 

The photo has now gone viral and I imagine Mr. Rodriguez is having a very unpleasant day hiding under his bed at home as reporters and film crews beat on his door. Whatever point this chowderhead hoped to score about his beloved Wahoo, what he in fact did, was ensure the Chief's long, long, LONG overdue demise. I can't stop looking at this photo. The calm dignity of Robert Roche contrasting the painted fool Rodriguez. You can bet Bud Selig is staring at this photo today, too, and is not at all happy. 

From 1999

I suspect Wahoo will be officially retired by the club by season's end. Larry Dolan, the creep who owns the team, is on record as being "fond" of Wahoo, and he also loves the souvenir bucks the Chief brings in, but he can't fend off the power of this photo. Game over, Lar.

Problem is, how does he get out of this? Dolan is hugely unpopular here in Cleveland. He bought one of the premier franchises in baseball and turned it into a low-budget operation, one that lets its stars bolt as soon as they hit free agency and holds regular fire sales to dump salary whenever a season goes bad. All our sports owners are incompetent in Cleveland, but Dolan is reviled. And now, he'll take even more of a beating, no matter what he does. Stubbornly hold onto Wahoo and this photo becomes the official billboard of the franchise. The local politicians are already coming after him. Mayor Frank Jackson called on the team to dump Wahoo and others are soon to follow. Dolan, a Republican one-percenter who lives in a mansion in another county, doesn't give a shit what Cleveland's powerful Democrats have to say, of course, but he needs these people in his corner with a big sin tax renewal on the ballot in May, one that will fund a laundry list of "improvements" he wants at the ballpark. On the flip side, jettison Wahoo and the great mass of local cretins will wail and gnash and turn out in great numbers festooned in redface and Wahoo gear, and the team (and the town) become an even greater target of national media outrage. Worldwide even. We're talking monumental civic embarrassment here. Cleveland as a laughing stock. Again.

Just as the city is beginning to shake off the "Most Miserable" tag and the Wall St. carpet bombing and Ariel Castro and all the other shit that we've endured over the past five years. The town is starting to get some press as the funky, interesting place it is. Now this. That buck-toothed, tomato-red abomination will drag Cleveland right down again.  

Why? because Chief Wahoo is fucking indefensible, that's why, you clueless fucking morons!

From 1997

Longtime readers here in Clevo know I've been a Wahoo basher for decades. My early anti-Wahoo cartoons cost the Cleveland weekly paper its Indians press pass! I've taken plenty of shit about my anti-Wahoo stand over the years from the locals, especially back in the Nineties when the supporters of Chief Wahoo greatly outnumbered those few of us who were calling him racist. The Indians media spokesman hated my guts. 

I've nothing new to add now, cartoon wise. I drew my last anti-Wahoo cartoon a couple years back. I don't have a Cleveland paper anymore, not since the Plain Dealer, my last local base, threw itself on its sword last summer and downsized to 3-day-a-week publication.To be honest, I've said all I have to say about Wahoo. If no one was paying attention all those years, that's not my problem. I've fought the good fight. I'd like to think I had some small part in the turning of the tide. I'll just post my old cartoons and leave it at that. They're still good cartoons, and, sadly, still as relevant as the day I drew them.

The stance of others in local media is more depressing. You have the sports screamers and the AM conservo-knuckledraggers who are wailing their support. The Plain Dealer just came out with an editorial calling for an end to the Chief, after decades of silence. Whether the paper has any influence anymore as its readership plummets is open for debate.

From 2010

But... there's definitely something going on here in Cleveland, just so you don't think everyone living here is a simpleton. It's called "De-Chiefing." Indians fans are simply removing Wahoo from their Indians gear, and making a pretty effective protest in the process. ESPN writes about it HERE 

And for those who want Wahoo to stay, here, I've updated his look into something both non-racial and a better reflection of those fans. I give you Chief Asshole.