The Wahoo debate has changed, but where do the Indians stand?
By Craig Lyndall
I can’t figure out how this will ever end well for the Dolan family. By sitting in the background and seemingly waiting for the world to impact them, they’re failing to control the message. Just this morning, it’s being reported on NPR that ESPN has removed Chief Wahoo as an image by which they might use to talk about the team. Check another box for someone other than those most responsible for Wahoo having more of a stance. The Indians have taken an issue and decided pretty much not to have a stance on it at all. It’s a failure by the Cleveland Indians. They’ve lost control of the message. In fact, they don’t have a message at all and it will be a bigger and bigger problem going forward.
By Todd Bennett
The tragedy of stereotypes is not just the prejudice they foster, but the beautiful truths they obfuscate. If you want to make a respectful mascot based on the culture of a fascinating and by and large peaceful people, a screaming savage is not where you start. If you want to accurately portray the vast majority of Native American culture in one symbol, don’t start with an arrow, start with a big, red, striking …
The bottom line
The Cleveland Indians’ controversial mascot is hurting their bottom line
By Jeff Yang
“In college basketball, you have quite a few teams that originally had a Native American mascot, but at some point decided to abandon it,” says Tripathi—including Illinois and Stanford, but also many others, like Syracuse, whose mascot from 1931 to 1978 was an “Indian Chief” called the “Saltine Warrior”; St. John’s, who were nicknamed the Redmen from the 1920s until 1994, and who had a Native American mascot through the ’60s and ’70s; Marquette University, which retired its mascot “Willie Wampum” in 1971, and renamed their team from the Warriors to the Golden Eagles in 1994; and Miami University of Ohio, which in 1997 went from the Redskins to the RedHawks.
“Given that we were doing a statistical model, it made sense to start with colleges, because we had tons of schools to work with,” says Tripathi. “And we also had great data: In the NCAA, because of Title IX, teams have to put all of their revenue data out there in public.”
What Tripathi and Lewis found was that, after accounting for factors like a team’s past performance, market size, and median income of the schools’ fanbases, in the short term, teams that eliminated a Native American mascot experienced a small, measurable revenue hit—but over the long term, the decision ended up boosting a school’s revenue. They surmised that this was due to a number of factors, including the elimination of negative publicity, expansion of the potential fan base, and subsequent implementation of new mascots with greater merchandising power.
By Kenley Young
Just how much? It's apparently in the millions of dollars, according to research from Emory University.
It's a lot to go through, but the website Quartz summarizes it this way: