Ontario court dismisses challenge over controversial Cleveland Indians mascot

Oct 17, 2016

An Ontario judge has dismissed a challenge to force the Cleveland Indians to change their name and logo. Cleveland is playing the Toronto Blue Jays in Major League Baseball's American League Championship Series.


Indigenous activists and human rights groups have long put pressure on Cleveland to dump the name and mascot, saying they are offensive to natives across North America.
            
The latest challenge from indigenous architect and activist Douglas Cardinal went before Ontario's superior court with a demand that the team's name and logo not be used in Ontario.

Many consider the Cleveland Indians mascot, nicknamed Chief Wahoo, to be offensive toward Native Americans.

Cardinal wanted the Indians, Major League Baseball and Rogers Communications, which is broadcasting the ALCS, to ditch the name and the logo, a cartoon character named Chief Wahoo.
            
Cardinal has also filed human rights complaints. On his side is Renu Mandhane, Ontario's human rights commissioner.
 
"We all want sports to remain and to be a driver for inclusion and we don't want to have unnecessary barriers because of team names that are outdated, at best, and racist, at worst," Mandhane said.
 
Pressure is also growing from other sectors. Some broadcasters, including Jerry Howarth, the Blue Jays' announcer, have vowed never to use the name Indians because it is offensive to native people

Some churches says they're encouraged by the sportscaster's decision to refer to the team simply as Cleveland. The United Church of Canada and the United Church of Christ issued a joint statement urging Cleveland to make the changes.

The judge in the case says he will provide his reasons for quashing the challenge at a later date.