Unlike the Washington Redskins gridiron team, which recently decided to change its long-standing nickname due to pressure associated with the Black Lives Matter movement, the Kansas City Chiefs gridiron team is keeping its name.
However, in deference to Native American culture, fans of the team will no longer be permitted to wear head dresses or face paint intended to be similar to that traditionally worn by Native Americans.
Kansas City has long been discouraging fans dressing up for games in this manner, but now it is outlawed for next season after discussions with American Indian organisations.
Fan celebration is also under review
The team has also announced that is it reviewing the desirability of a long-standing fan activity called the Arrowhead Chop, in which fans simulate the chopping motion of a tomahawk (Native American axe) while a drum is banged by a prominent person associated with the team.
The stadium where the team plays its home games is called Arrowhead Stadium.
In a statement, Kansas City said the ‘Chiefs’ name would remain as it was not regarded as “hate speech” in the way that ‘Redskins’ is.
Dialogue started in 2014 with leaders
“In 2014, we began a dialogue with a group of local leaders from diverse American Indian backgrounds and experiences,” the Chiefs said in a statement.
“As an organisation, our goal was to gain a better understanding of the issues facing American Indian communities in our region and explore opportunities to both raise awareness of American Indian cultures and celebrate the rich traditions of tribes with a historic connection to the Kansas City area.
“We are grateful for the meaningful conversations we have had with all of these American Indian leaders. It is important that we continue the dialogue on these significant topics, and we look forward to continuing to work together in the future.”
English rugby team keeps its name
The BBC reported that last month the English rugby union team Exeter Chiefs decided to retain its Native American name and logo, but retired the club’s ‘Big Chief’ mascot.
In baseball, Cleveland Indians are discussing a name change, while the Atlanta Braves said they will keep their title but also review the tomahawk chop celebration.