The Cleveland Indians home opener Friday marks the beginning of the last year the team will sport Chief Wahoo on its uniforms.
The logo has been a source of controversy for decades. Some believe it is racist and offensive. The decision to make the change was announced in Januar y .
Still, a recent Baldwin Wallace University survey shows people in Northeast Ohio have not entirely warmed up to the block “C”. The survey found about 60 percent of respondents claim to have a strong emotional connection to Chief Wahoo. Just one in five feel that way about block “C”.
GV Art + Design co-owner Greg Vlosich says their “Keep the Chief” shirt has been one of most popular since it launched five years ago. This year, “Long Live The Chief” is flying off shelves.
“It has been unbelievable,” said Vlosich.
Vlosich says the shirts start a dialogue. But, to some, the back-and-forth is over.
“The debate has come and gone,” said Sundance, executive director of the Cleveland American Indian Movement. “I think that Major League Baseball has again recognized what we’re saying is valid.”
Sundance has been leading protests at the team's home openers for a decade. He plans to be there once again Friday.
“What we want is really simple. We think the team needs to change its name. We think the logo needs to go.”
Even after the Chief Wahoo logo is removed from uniforms, the club will continue to sell merchandise with it in the Cleveland area.
“It doesn’t surprise me that they continue to sell. It doesn’t surprise me that the fans continue to buy,” said Sundance.
Protestors will gather near the Bob Feller statue at 2 p.m. About 30 people are expected to participate.
The game begins at 4:10.