Controversy struck Major League Baseball this weekend when the Atlanta braves visited the White House to celebrate their 2021 World Series victory alongside President Joe Biden.
During the meeting, Biden had this to say about the Atlanta Braves and the team’s place in American culture.
“Atlanta is a great American sports city, and the Braves are a big reason for that. This team has literally been part of American history for over 150 years,” said the president.
Many on the political left would like to erase the team’s mascot and their celebratory “tomahawk chop.”
This has been made clear over the past few years and Biden’s own press secretary made sure to correct his position in a briefing later that same day.
Other members of the Biden administration did not agree with that sentiment, however, and White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told us what she believes the president really thinks about the Atlanta Braves.
“We believe it’s important to have this conversation. Native American and Indigenous voices, they should be at the center of the conversation,” she said.
“That is something the president believes. That is something this administration believes,” Jean-Pierre said. “And he has consistently emphasized that all people deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. You hear that often from this president. The same is true here. And we should listen to Native American and Indigenous people who are impacted by this.”
In past years, this same sentiment has been used to change the team names of the MLB’s Cleveland Guardians (who were once named the Indians) and the Washington Commanders (previously called the Redskins).
Georgia’s Republican Governor Brain Kemp has shown his support for the team’s name in a re-election rally in Georgia.
“The Braves are the Braves. They need to keep chopping,” he exclaimed in response to the white house’s inquisition against his hometown team.
Kemp hopes that by standing up for his fellow Georgians, he will be able to retain his Governorship in an election against Democrat Stacy Abrams this fall.
The Braves seem to be a different case than these other teams due to the support that they continue to receive from Native American groups.
“The Braves have done a phenomenal job with the Native American community,” said MLB commissioner Rob Manfred last year.
“The Native American community in that region is wholly supportive of the Braves program, including the chop. And for me, that’s kind of the end of the story. In that market, taking into account the Native American community, it works,” Manfred concluded.
According to Richard Sneed, chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, the Braves moniker is one which he takes great pride in and is unlike other harmful names.
“To me, the Washington Redskins name was probably the only team name that I could look at and say that’s derogatory, that’s a racial slur,” said Sneed. “But all the rest – they’re an affirmation of the honor and strength and courage and the warrior spirit of the native people.”