Judge refuses to order Cleveland Indians not to use name and logo while in Toronto

Judge refuses to order Cleveland Indians not to use name and logo while in Toronto
Chief Wahoo gets the last laugh.

Sometimes, it appears, the system works, even in faraway Canada.

On Monday, a judge in Ontario refused to grant a cease and desist order that would have required the Cleveland Indians baseball franchise to leave its team name and mascot at the border when entering Canada.

According to The Toronto Star, Douglas Cardinal, an indigenous activist, filed a motion against the team in Ontario Superior Court, claiming that the name “Indians” and the team’s logo — a highly stylized cartoon Indian with bright red skin and a prominent nose — are offensive and discriminatory.

Chief Wahoo gets the last laugh.
Chief Wahoo gets the last laugh.

Cardinal asked that the Indians (the team, not his people) be referred to during broadcasts solely as “the Cleveland team.” The Indians (“the Cleveland team”) are currently battling the Toronto Blue Jays for the American League Championship title. The winner goes on to the World Series. Cleveland leads the 7-game ALCS 3-0, which means Toronto is on the verge of elimination.

Aaron Lazarus, a spokesman for Rogers Communications, which owns the Blue Jays franchise, said in a statement that it would be “virtually impossible” to broadcast the game without showing the Indians’ name or logo “on the field, in the stands and in the stadium.”

Apart from practical considerations, the sort of censorship Cardinal is looking to impose— and across international borders, mind you — creates a very slippery slope where everyone would seek to have their whims catered to. Bird lovers, for example, might consider the team name “Blue Jays” exploitive and ask that it be banned. They might even ask Douglas Cardinal to change his name!

Ben Bowles

Ben Bowles

Ben Bowles is a freelance writer.


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