Georgia Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue issed a joint statement Monday, stating that they are opposed to the Atlanta Braves changing their name. The statement comes on the same day Cleveland Indians Owner Paul Dolan told the Associated Press (AP) his team’s name “is no longer acceptable in our world.”
Dolan was referring to Cleveland’s decision to change their team name from “Indians,” a name they have had for 105 years, to a new name that is yet undecided. The decision came after months of deliberation by Dolan and the team, and pressure from groups that called the name insensitive and racist.
Loeffler and Perdue said, “We adamantly oppose any effort to rename the Atlanta Braves, one of our state’s most storied and successful sports franchises. Not only are the Braves a Georgia institution — with a history spanning 54 years in Atlanta — they’re an American institution,” the Chattanoogan reported.
“The Braves’ name honors our nation’s Native American heritage, which should not be erased — and under no circumstances should one of the most celebrated teams in sports cave to the demands of the cancel culture and the radical left,” the statement said.
Inbox: "Joint Statement From Senators David Perdue And Kelly Loeffler In Opposition To Renaming Atlanta Braves"
— Steven Shepard (@POLITICO_Steve) December 14, 2020
In July, the Braves said they have no plans to change the team name. However, Braves management faces growing pressure to follow the lead of recent name change decisions made by Cleveland and also the NFL’s Washington Redskins. The Redskins changed their name to the Washington Football Team in July after having the Redskins name for 88 years, when companies such as FedEx, Nike, and Pepsi recently renewed threats to end their deals and/or stop selling the team’s merchandise until the name changed.
President Trump reacted to Cleveland’s announcement Sunday. “Oh no! What is going on? This is not good news, even for “Indians”. Cancel culture at work,” he said:
Oh no! What is going on? This is not good news, even for “Indians”. Cancel culture at work! https://t.co/d1l0C9g6Pd
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 14, 2020
In July, the president commented on team name change talk saying, “They name teams out of STRENGTH, not weakness, but now the Washington Redskins & Cleveland Indians, two fabled sports franchises, look like they are going to be changing their names in order to be politically correct. Indians, like Elizabeth Warren, must be very angry right now”:
They name teams out of STRENGTH, not weakness, but now the Washington Redskins & Cleveland Indians, two fabled sports franchises, look like they are going to be changing their names in order to be politically correct. Indians, like Elizabeth Warren, must be very angry right now!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 6, 2020
Even though the Braves announced their intention to keep the team name, the organization did say that they are discussing whether to keep the traditional crowd favorite “Tomahawk Chop,” which has received criticism for being insensitive to Native Americans.