Indians owner and CEO Paul Dolan was the featured guest at Temple Emanu El Brotherhood’s 27th annual Sports Night on May 3. He'd just returned from a trip to Israel and tackled a variety of topics in opening remarks and during a Q&A with the crowd. Naturally, Chief Wahoo came up.
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred has made it clear that he'd prefer the Indians to transition away from the racist red Sambo caricature. The Indians have quietly done some of that already but have so far attempted to walk a middle line where executives say a whole lot of nothing while trying to please both sides. That's largely because the Keep the Chief contingent is vocal and large and the team, while acknowledging that many others find the logo offensive, probably doesn't want to alienate its fanbase. We've heard previously that they're basically waiting for MLB to demand Wahoo's dismissal so they can get some cover from their fans. Manfred would be the bad guy, not the Dolans. However it happens, it's happening — Manfred and the team said earlier this year discussions are ongoing.
Here's what Dolan said at the Sports Night event on the topic, according to the Cleveland Jewish News.
• About the controversy surrounding the team’s name and logo, Chief Wahoo that “some want to keep (Wahoo), some want to get rid of him, but the issue is not going to go. We are mindful that there are people who are offended by it, and frankly if you leave Northeastern Ohio, it changes, the prospective on this changes. We were on some path towards a middle ground, I don’t know what that path was, and that’s still where we’re headed, but we’re headed there faster than we’ve ever liked because the commissioner of baseball weighed in on this.” Dolan said Manfred had reached out to the franchise about its logo, particularly after a Canadian lawsuit was filed against the team and MLB for using the logo during the playoffs against the Toronto Blue Jays in October. Dolan said he favors a reduced use of Wahoo without eliminating the logo, but he suspects the logo will be resolved one way or the other within a couple of years.
Wahoo stuff aside, Dolan also admitted he didn't "get" trading prospects for Andrew Miller and had to be convinced by the front office. “They said, ‘When you get to the playoffs, a guy like Miller is a special weapon,’ and we saw that.”