COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTVN) -- A state senator from Cincinnati wants to see the Cleveland Indians change their nickname and get rid of their mascot, Chief Wahoo.
“Over the years we’ve seen a number of sports teams, colleges, universities and organizations including Miami University of Ohio change their nickname due to the concerns of Native Americans and the perpetuation of stereotypes,” said Sen. Eric Kearney. “The continuing use of the Indians nickname and a stereotypical Native American caricature, such as Chief Wahoo, is an affront to Native Americans.”
Kearney, a Cincinnati Democrat, notes that the team has a "rich history" and changing the name and mascot would be a symbolic decision that would show that much has changed since 1915 when the team adopted the Indians name.
"I encourage the team not to pass on a legacy that carries racist undertones to future generations of fans,” Kearney said.
Kearney, who's an admitted Reds fan, also sent a letter to team owner Larry Dolan urging the changes. He thinks it could also be a great marketing opportunity for the team.
It's not likely that the non-binding resolution will have time to get passed through the General Assembly before the current session ends.
"In some respects it really doesn't matter if it passes, it's more important that we have the discussion around the name and the symbols that we use in sporting events," Kearney said.