Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Time to Retire Chief Wahoo

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Time to Retire Chief Wahoo

Article excerpt

Editorial Exchange: Time to retire Chief Wahoo

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An editorial from the Waterloo Region Record, published Oct. 19:

Douglas Cardinal may have lost his legal battle to block the Cleveland Indians from using their name and logo at this week's playoff baseball games in Toronto.

But here's hoping he wins the moral war against wealthy professional sports teams who use indigenous images, and treat indigenous people, in stupid, insulting ways.

The time has passed when a racist caricature like the one that appears on Cleveland's uniforms -- the red-faced, hooked-nose, bucktoothed aboriginal man known as Chief Wahoo -- can be tolerated by our society. The chief should be retired.

A renowned aboriginal architect, Cardinal wanted this to happen very quickly on Monday when his lawyers called on Justice Thomas McEwen to issue an order forcing the Cleveland team to wear uniforms without their name or logo when playing the Blue Jays in Toronto.

The court was also asked to prevent Rogers Communications, which owns the Jays, their stadium and their broadcaster, from using the Cleveland name and logo on air.

It's not surprising the judge denied Cardinal's requests. It was not shown that the Cleveland team was violating any law. While Cardinal could have asked for the injunctions earlier, he waited until the day of a critical playoff game that would be attended by 50,000 fans and watched by millions on TV.

The snap decision he wanted would have had a major impact on those people as well as businesses that rely on customers watching the playoffs. Moreover, it would be unreasonable to suddenly bar broadcasters from using the name "Indians," as they are accustomed to do, during a game lasting several hours. One unintended slip by those announcers could have left them open to a contempt-of-court charge.

Justice McEwen called it right.

But if Cardinal's complaint did not belong in a court of law, it deserves a place in the court of public opinion.

Addressing the legitimate grievances of North America's indigenous peoples should be one of the highest priorities for both Canada and the United States. …

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