The Atlanta Braves have announced that the team won't be wearing hats featuring the "screaming Indian" logo in the upcoming baseball season after all.
When designs for the batting practice caps for all 30 Major League Baseball teams were released in December, the Braves' cap instantly drew criticism for its use of a logo many Native Americans find offensive. The "screaming Indian" or "screaming savage" image had not been seen on a Braves uniform since 1989, and most baseball fans considered it retired, for understandable reasons.
Word I’m hearing through the grapevine is that last week’s ESPN column on MLB’s new BP caps generated so much controversy and backlash against the Braves’ “screaming Indian” design that the team may end up switching to another cap logo. If that happens, expect MLB to issue lots of revisionist-history talking points about how the Indian design was just “one option we were exploring” and that it was “in development but never finalized” and that the Braves simply “opted to go in another direction” or some such. But take it from me: That design was (and, for now, still is) good to go. As of today, it’s listed in the MLB Style Guide. If the Braves ultimately abandon it, it’ll be because they responded to the backlash, period. Which, of course, is precisely what they should do. Here’s hoping.
An article posted to the Braves official site on MLB.com yesterday makes it official: The batting practice cap will be adorned with the script "A" logo, not the Indian head. Although the Braves did (as Lukas predicted) say that the design given to the sports press was not final, the MLB.com reporter acknowledged that the design was controversial. In a post at ESPN.com, Lukas says the Braves explanation "doesn't ring true."