ATLANTA , -- Some TV viewers might be offended by Braves fans still chanting and cutting in force as the World Series moves to Atlanta.
The Braves continue to play after Major League Baseball and the NFL have removed names that were considered offensive or racist to Native Americans over the past two years. This was with the support and encouragement of Rob Manfred, the commissioner of baseball.
Manfred's most important thing is that the Braves have support from the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. They are located in North Carolina, about three hours away from Atlanta.
Manfred stated Tuesday that the Braves program was supported by the entire Native American community. "That's for me the end of this story. We're also taking into consideration the Native American community in that market.
Richard Sneed is the principal chief of Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. He would like to see more anger about the bigger issues facing Native Americans. These include poverty, unemployment and sexual assaults.
Sneed said Tuesday that he was not offended when someone waves their arm at a sporting event. "I'm not. It's their prerogative to be offended if someone is. They may be offended. They can be offended. I don’t know many people, maybe one or two from my tribe, who would say, "Yeah. I don’t like that." But, at the end, we have bigger problems to address.
Sneed stated that the problem of crime and poverty are often overlooked when national attention is focused on the team names and the tomahawk cut.
"There is so much going on and the frustrating thing for me as a leader of tribals is when the only topic that seems to be being discussed is...?How offended were you by the chop, and should the Braves name change?' I guess it's what I'm trying to say.
The Braves have not indicated that they plan to change their name, or stop the chop. It has been a beloved tradition since the 1990s. Deion Sanders, a former Braves outfielder, is credited for bringing the chop to Atlanta, which was part his college football experience at Florida State.
Sanders, Jackson State's current football coach, declined an interview request by the AP.
After Ryan Helsley (a member of Cherokee Nation) said he found the move offensive, the Braves attempted to reduce the emphasis on the chop in the 2019 NL Division Series versus St. Louis.
The Braves have stopped giving out red foam tomahawks to fans who do the chop during series because of Helsley's complaint. To encourage the chant, they also stopped playing the accompanying music.
The coronavirus pandemic decimated stadiums and diverted attention from it.
Fans have returned, and the chop is now fully revived with stadium music, drumbeats and tomahawk images posted on Truist Park's video boards.
Georgia Governor. There is widespread support locally for the chop, from Brian Kemp to University of Georgia standout defensive player Jordan Davis to Braves supporters.
Kemp posted "Chop On, Go @Braves!" to his Twitter account after Atlanta beat Los Angeles Dodgers at the NL Championship Series.
Davis answered Monday's question about whether he was pulling for Braves. Bravo to the Braves. They are our favorite team.
Braves fans brought the chop and chant with them to Houston. After the Braves had taken an early lead in Game 1, a small group of Braves fans started doing the chop. They stayed in the stadium to continue the chop after a 6-2 win.
Fans lining up to purchase World Series tickets at Truist Park Tuesday morning could not find any other opinions on the chop.
Sarah Oldham said, "It's freaking amazing." It's part our winning strategy to make all the noise at the stadium. It's like voodoo going on. "I'd be afraid."
Caleb Godfrey said, while he works close to Truist Park: "I love it." When asked about the chop, he said that he loves it.
Godfrey stated, "I can understand both sides of this argument but it doesn't feel offensive in a Redskins scenario."
The Braves declined comment to discuss their support for the chop.
Redskins name was dropped by the NFL's Washington Football Team. MLB's Cleveland Indians have named themselves Guardians. The NFL's Kansas City Chiefs are under pressure to stop their chop chant from their fans.
Sneed stated that Redskins was the "only name I felt was offensive." That's very offensive. They didn't bother me at all and they don't bother us anymore."
The Braves dedicated the July 17th game against Tampa Bay, Florida to the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. The night will be held annually by the team, the team stated.
The Monument Garden of the Braves has a "We Are Still Here" display. This display is intended to inform fans about the history of the EBCI.
Sneed stated that the Braves were "really instrumental and really a trailblazer" in setting an example of how to use their platform, which is both a national and sometimes international platform.
Manfred also gave praise to the Braves, stating that "they've done an amazing job with the Native Americans in the region."
Manfred stated that the Native American community is the best group to decide if it's appropriate and has been unwaveringly supportive for the Braves.
Braves sponsor is Harrah's Cherokee Resort & Casino in Cherokee (North Carolina).
Sneed stated that "that's separate from the work we do on governmental side," adding that he and other elected representatives on the tribal council "don’t have any input or say in that."
Sneed stated that the casino generates funds so they can help people with mental and substance abuse issues. "So we're fortunate.
"But I am also aware of the fact that there are... many tribes still living in abject poverty with extremely high unemployment rates."
Sneed stated that he views the Braves' relationship as one that "gives us the opportunity to be able discuss the issues that are really crucial to Indian country and need to be addressed."
They are not new problems for us. These are issues that tribal nations have dealt successfully with since the Indian Removal Act, government intervention, and forced tribes from their reservations.
Manfred appreciates the support of Sneed's organization, and he didn't hesitate to ask for the Braves' permission.
Are there other Native Americans who might be offended by this chop?
Manfred stated that he doesn't know the feelings of every Native American group in the country. "I'm 100% sure that the Braves know what the Native American community believes in their area and have acted in line with that understanding.