As the controversy over Native American imagery in sports churns on, there have been two new developments regarding Major League Baseball -- one showing where the sports world may be heading on this issue, and another showing that it hasn't gotten there yet.
The big news is coming out of Atlanta, where the Braves have just announced that their 2013 batting practice cap will not feature the team's "screaming Indian" logo after all. This follows a storm of reaction after a December Uni Watch column, which exclusively reported that the team was planning to use the Indian head design. The team has now backed off of that plan.
Interestingly, the report on the Braves' site says the Indian head cap "was one of five proposed designs," and that the final decision "had not been made before the potential hats were leaked" by Uni Watch. In other words, the Braves are claiming that they were never committed to the Indian head cap to begin with. But that doesn't ring true. The Indian head cap has been shown for months in the official MLB Style Guide and is still shown there right now. It's also shown in the new New Era catalog. All signs indicate that the Braves fully intended to go with the Indian design until the recent controversy caused them to have second thoughts.
It will be interesting to see if a similar chain of events follows in Cleveland, where the Indians have come out with a T-shirt that's sure to raise some eyebrows. Here's the deal: Majestic has just unveiled a new line of retro-styled T-shirts and sweatshirts. The one for the Indians features the old-school Chief Wahoo caricature that even hard-core Tribe fans will find hard to defend.
Will we see another backlash? Stay tuned.