What in the world are the Atlanta Braves thinking?
Along with the rest of Major League Baseball, the Braves have unveiled a new batting practice hat. Unlike the rest of Major League Baseball, the Braves have gone the controversial route in doing so, bringing back the old "screaming savage" design the team got rid of after the 1989 season.
Last year the Braves conspicuously avoided using their "screaming Indian" logo as a sleeve patch on their retro alternate jersey—a welcome move for those of us who oppose the appropriation of Native American imagery in sports. Unfortunately, it turns out that the logo hasn't been permanently mothballed. Disappointing. Grade: F
I have a few guesses.
Perhaps the Braves love bad publicity, incorrectly hoping that the common saying "There is no such thing as bad publicity" applies to sports teams. It doesn't.
Maybe somebody in the team's marketing department incorrectly surmised that the city of Atlanta loves stereotypical depictions of entire races of people.
Perhaps ownership was sick and tired of the Washington Redskins and their culturally insensitive name remaining the most offensive rendition of Native American culture in this country.
Why did the Braves screw this up so badly? The New York Mets are featuring Mr. Met on the batting hat this time around. The Oakland Athletics went with the awesome elephant logo. The Houston Astros hat is just plain fantastic. The Milwaukee Brewers went old-school with the alternate.
It's not hard to do these caps right. The Braves not only didn't get that memo, but they also went ahead and created the "There is a demand for our old racist logo" memo that otherwise would have never existed.
These hats would get an F- if such a grade even existed.
All the Braves had to do was take the standard "A" on their hats and put it on the new design instead of the "screaming savage" and these would be fine. I like the white stitching on the bill. I like the tone of this navy blue. It would have been such a simple and elegant design.
Instead, we once again have to have a conversation about what is and isn't offensive when it comes to Native American logos and team names.
Naming your team after a group of people or position within a culture?
Not offensive. That's why team names like the Braves, Minnesota Vikings, Florida State Seminoles, etc. are perfectly fine.
Naming your team or creating your logo as an entire race of people, or incorporating derogatory terms into your name or stereotypical renditions of people into your logo?
That's offensive. See the Indians, Chief Wahoo, Redskins, etc.
Atlanta should retract these hats immediately. The organization is better than this. I'm not being politically correct, the Braves are being culturally insensitive. Yes, there is a difference. A big one.
Clearly, the Braves didn't get that memo either.
Hit me up on Twitter—my tweets will now refer to the Atlanta Braves as the Atlanta Racist Team Logos.