ATLANTA, GA- Just days after Ryan Helsley, a Cardinals reliever and a member of the Cherokee Nation, criticized the use of the “Tomahawk Chop”, a fan cheer by Braves fans, Atlanta officials are taking action.
“I think it’s a misrepresentation of the Cherokee people or Native Americans in general,” Helsley told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Friday “Just depicts them in this kind of caveman-type people way who aren’t intellectual. They are a lot more than that. It’s not me being offended by the whole mascot thing. It’s not. It’s about the misconception of us, the Native Americans, and it devalues us and how we’re perceived in that way, or used as mascots.”
Wednesday afternoon, just prior to the pivotal Game 5 of the National League Division Series between the Cardinals and Braves, Atlanta issued a statement promising changes.
“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. Among other things, these steps include not distributing foam tomahawks to each seat and not playing the accompanying music or using Chop-related graphics when Mr. Helsley is in the game.”
The statement says the team looks forward to a “continued dialogue with those in the Native American community after the postseason concludes.”