The Cleveland Indians are the latest North-American professional sports franchise to announce a change to their controversial team name and logo. Last week, the Indians released a statement declaring a new name and logo will be developed by 2022. In the National Football League, the Washington Football Team also dropped their team name and logo back on July 3 after 80-plus years as the “Redskins”.

Blackhawks Initial Statement

In light of the news that Washington was making changes, the Blackhawks issued a statement on July 7 standing by their own team name and logo, which received heavy backlash. The organization ensured that the continued use of the logo and name “Blackhawk” would be only to honor and celebrate Native American culture, traditions, and contributions.

“We recognize there is a fine line between respect and disrespect, and we commend other teams for their willingness to engage in that conversation,” the statement read. “Moving forward, we are committed to raising the bar even higher to expand awareness of Black Hawk and important contributions of all Native American people. We will continue to serve as stewards of our name and identity and will do so with a commitment to evolve.”

As a result of the statement, the United Center was vandalized in October. Orange paint was thrown over the Native American head logo outside the stadium, and the phrases “land back” and “get Wirtz off board”, among others, were spray-painted on the concrete near the statue.

Blackhawks Latest Statement

On Thursday, Blackhawks CEO Danny Wirtz was asked by The Athletic’s Mark Lazerus about the Indians’ decision to change their name and logo. Despite Cleveland’s announcement, the Blackhawks plan on staying true to their statement in July.

“We respect the decision the Cleveland Indians made to go down that path, but we continue to deepen our commitment to upholding our namesake and our brand,” Wirtz said. “The work we’ve been doing over the last several months, and expanding and deepening conversations and partnerships within the Native community, we continue to feel really positive about the types of work we can do, the way in which we can be better stewards of the namesake and the history, and to use our platforms to be educators not only for our fans but for our internal teams and making sure that we provide that reverence and respect that we talk about.”

Blackhawks Ban Headdresses

While the organization appears to be reluctant on changing the name and logo anytime soon, the Blackhawks did issue a ban in July on Native American headdresses at future team-sanctioned events and home games at the United Center. A small step in the right direction, but still not a strong enough effort from the point of view of many Blackhawks fans.
Chicago will head into the 2020-21 regular season with their same logo of a Native American head with face paint and a feather headdress. The name “Blackhawks” will still be in effect. But it could be only a matter of time until the logo and team name are retired permanently.
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Born and raised in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. Diehard Blackhawks and Cubs fan. Former high school baseball player. Studied Mass Media Communication and Psychology at the University of Missouri.