ATLANTA, GA—The Braves reconsidered the teams ‘Tomahawk Chop’ activities for Game 5 of the NLDS after the St. Louis Cardinals relief pitcher, Ryan Helsley, expressed being offended.
Helsley expressed feeling disrespected by the Atlanta Braves traditional ‘chop on’ chant during games. Having to hear the chant during Braves home games, and with his mom being full-blooded Cherokee, Helsley stated the following:
“Us as Cherokee native people went through a lot in this country, and to have your ancestors used as a mascot, it’s more of a disappointment-type thing. It doesn’t make me mad or anything, it’s just like a disrespect-type thing. It shows less respect for the people, you know?”
The Braves organization decided to not give out the traditional foam tomahawks during Game 5 like they do at post season games for fans to cheer on their team. The tomahawk tradition dates back more than 20 years for the organization and includes a chant along with the forward gesture of the tomahawk chop. Along with the removal of the foam souvenirs, the Braves stated they would reframe from playing accompanying music or use ‘chop’ graphics when Helsley is playing, and stated the following on October 5:
“Out of respect for the concerns expressed by Mr. Helsley, we will take several efforts to reduce the Tomahawk Chop during our in-ballpark presentation today.”
The Braves are not the only team facing pressure to change its traditions with their mascots or gestures. The Cleveland Indians have been asked to do away with their “Chief Wahoo” logo and mascot.