Liberal sports writers and corporate media members will be glued to the television on Friday night when the Atlanta Braves host the Houston Astros in Game 3 of the World Series, but many of them won’t be focused on the game.
Instead, woke members of the press have been busy decrying the Braves’ nickname and iconic Tomahawk Chop as everything from racist to an act of violence.
“A sport that helped define America and American men for more than 100 years has been taken over by those who hate the sport, the fans and our country,” Media Research Center vice president Dan Gainor told Fox News Digital.
Cancel culture has hit professional sports in recent years, specifically for teams named after Native Americans, and many have set their sights on the Atlanta Braves as the team hosts its first Fall Classic game in 22 years.
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The NFL franchise formerly known as the Washington Redskins dropped its longtime moniker after years of pressure and have simply gone by the Washington Football Team. Major League Baseball’s Cleveland Indians initially ditched its popular Chief Wahoo logo and has scrapped the name altogether, planning to take the field as the Cleveland Guardians beginning next season.
The Atlanta Braves, whose name goes back to 1912 when they played in Boston and later in Milwaukee, have hung onto the moniker and famed chant. Now, with the World Series heading to Atlanta’s Truist Park tied up at one game apiece, everyone seems to have an opinion on anything other than the action on the field.
The Associated Press published a column by Paul Newberry headlined, “Pull the plug on the chop — and Braves name, too.” The column admits the Tomahawk Chop “will be impossible to ignore now that the World Series has shifted to Atlanta,” adding that viewers will have “unfortunate” visuals.
“Simply put, the Braves and their co-conspirator are on the wrong side of history, not unlike those who continue to defend the Confederate flag and statues as nothing more than peaceful symbols of Southern heritage,” Newberry wrote.
Liberal CNN published an article with critics calling the Braves’ chant “racist” and “dehumanizing,” Mic complained the “racist Tomahawk Chop is here to stay,” and MSNBC’s Joy Reid slammed the chant as “portraying hatred of Native American people.”
Sports Illustrated asked, “Why Does MLB Still Allow Synchronized, Team-Sanctioned Racism in Atlanta?,” in a piece that claimed “a nationwide television audience will see a largely white crowd mocking a people its ancestors tried to erase.”
The Braves have played dozens of nationally televised games over the years before the World Series however, whether during their recent string of playoff appearances or occasionally during the regular season on ESPN and FOX.
ESPN’s Jeff Passan has called on MLB to “stop the chop” and mocked anyone who disagrees with him.
“The best part of writing about the tomahawk chop is the reams of grown adults bleating on about how unfair and wrong it would be for a baseball team to stop encouraging them to wave their arms up and down and cosplay natives and they want to make it seem like you’re the soft one,” Passan tweeted.
“It wouldn’t fix any of those generational problems that affect American Indians. But it would, to plenty, return at least a modicum of dignity to a people that have already had so much taken from them,” he wrote in a column.
USA Today’s Bob Nightengale declared he won’t even use the term “Braves” in his work, despite being employed as the paper’s baseball columnist.
“While I can’t stop the tomahawk chop or make Atlanta change its name, what I can do is not acknowledge the nickname,” Nightengale wrote. “In recent years, I have tried to avoid using Atlanta’s nickname in columns. I find it offensive.”
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USA Today was even caught stealth-editing multiple pieces to remove the “offensive” name from old stories, but chalked it up to an “oversight.”
“Of course, baseball is suddenly freaking out about Atlanta fans doing the Tomahawk Chop that they’ve been doing for about 30 years. And the infinite number of sports writer leftists — like USA Today’s Bob Nightengale — won’t even dare use the team name,” Gainor said. “It’s like Atlanta’s named after Voldemort or something.”
Fox News contributor Joe Concha, an avid sports fan, also mocked Nightengale’s stance.
“Nightengale should no longer refer to the New York or Winnipeg Jets as the Jets, either. Because Jets are harmful to the atmosphere, thereby accelerating the depletion of the ozone layer,” Concha told Fox News Digital. “This cannot be advocated any further, nor can the Tomahawk Chop. Just ask Bob Nightengale – the Pope of sports scribes.”
The Atlanta Braves have a long and storied history, dating back to their move from Milwaukee to the Georgia capital in 1966. It’s long been one of the south’s most popular franchises, and it set a major league record with 14 straight division titles from 1991 to 2005, although it won just one World Series in that time in 1995.
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The Chop, which is also done by fans of Florida State University’s football team and the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs, has been the team’s signature gesture since the early 1990s. Thousands of fans “chop” the air in unison while doing the famous chant during exciting moments in the game.
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The chant had its critics long before woke culture infiltrated America, and CBS announcer Pat O’Brien even reported that Native American and civil rights activists objected to it during a telecast of the 1991 World Series, but calls for the Braves to cancel it have grown louder. The 30-year-old footage was unearthed this month by a baseball-related Twitter account that urged MLB to “Stop the chop” before the Fall Classic kicked off.
St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Ryan Helsley, a member of the Cherokee Nation, criticized the Tomahawk Chop in 2019. As a result, the Braves stopped distributing the red foam tomahawks used by fans doing the chop during their Division Series matchup against the Cardinals that year.
The team also, temporarily, stopped playing the accompanying music that encourages the chant. The Braves even removed a “Chop On” sign from its ballpark ahead of the 2020 season and but fans continued to “Chop On” without being directed by a wooden sign.
The chant was fully revived during the 2021 season and Braves management has stood its ground, largely refusing to ditch their imagery despite other sports franchises bowing to critics. Drumbeats and images to encourage the chant are prevalent around Truist Park. During opposing pitching changes and scoring opportunities, the Chop roars in the park. As they wrapped up the National League Championship Series last week, the Chop could be heard roaring in the park even before the final out.
Braves chairman Terry McGuirk discussed controversies surrounding the team’s name and imagery in 2020 and didn’t sound like someone who planned to make additional changes.
“We are so proud of our team’s name, and our expectation is that we will always be the Atlanta Braves,” McGuirk told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“I would say unequivocally the Atlanta Braves’ name will stay the Atlanta Braves,” he added. “The tomahawk logo on the jersey as a big piece of our iconography is here to stay. We are proud of it. We think our constituencies hold it in an equally high level of esteem.”
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The Braves also told the paper the franchise would examine criticism of the Tomahawk Chop and continue an open dialogue about it, but additional measures to retire the chant have never been announced and there has been no indication any changes are coming.
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred has, so far, supported the Atlanta franchise on the matter. He cited support of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, based in North Carolina about three hours from Atlanta, as his rationale.
“The Native American community in that region is wholly supportive of the Braves program, including the chop,” Manfred said Tuesday. “For me, that’s kind of the end of the story. In that market, we’re taking into account the Native American community.”
ESPN’s Clinton Yates has an issue with Manfred’s stance, writing a column headlined, “Manfred misses the mark with Braves,” which calls the Chop “deplorable” and a “form of violence” against minorities.
“Without getting too far into a battle of right or wrong, and, quite frankly, in 2021, people of color are tired of having to explain how things like representation correlate to violence and harm in communities. Basically, when people are caricatured routinely, it’s a form of violence that manifests itself in other ways that go far beyond dignity,” Yates wrote.
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It appears that even in 2021, not everyone has an issue with the Braves or the team’s chant.
“I’m not offended by somebody waving their arm at a sports game,” principal chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Richard Sneed told The Associated Press on Tuesday. ” We’ve got bigger issues to deal with.”
However, if liberal sports writers don’t want Braves fans to partake in the Chop, they really won’t like Outkick founder Clay Travis’ suggestion.
“I’m hoping Braves fans continue the Tomahawk Chop while chanting ‘Let’s Go Brandon,’” Travis told Fox News Digital.
Game 3 of the 2021 World Series airs on Friday at 8:09 p.m. ET on FOX. The Astros and Braves will try to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series after they split their first two games in Houston.
The Associated Press and Fox News’ Joseph A. Wulfsohn and David Rutz contributed this report.