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NE Ohioans prefer Chief Wahoo to Block C

As the excitement of the 2018 MLB Opening Day approaches, a new Baldwin Wallace University survey shows Northeast Ohioans are lukewarm about the Block C logo that may be featured on the uniforms of the Cleveland Indians next season and are standing by Chief Wahoo, a caricature that critics consider offensive to Native Americans.

BW CRI NE Cleveland Indians logos side-by-sideWhile about 48 percent of respondents to the recent Community Research Institute (CRI) Northeast Ohio poll do not find Native American mascots to be disrespectful, the Indians organization is going forward with dropping Chief Wahoo from uniforms next season.

BW CRI surveyed residents of the seven-county area in and around Cleveland and found about 60 percent claiming "a strong emotional connection" (58%) and "pride" (62%) in Chief Wahoo.

Symbol of Cleveland

"It's clear that Wahoo is seen as more than just a baseball mascot, he is a representation of Cleveland," said political science major Reese Albright '19, one of two students in Dr. Lauren Copeland's research methods course who will present the results at BW's Ovation Festival, a spring showcase of student achievement. "Despite what decisions the organization has made, a majority of fans are continuing to proudly support their Chief."

The survey found 70 percent agree that the logo "represents more than the team - it represents the city of Cleveland," with less than half (47%) believing the Block C "represents the city itself" and just one in five noting a strong emotional connection to the Block C.

Merchandising the Chief

"While Chief Wahoo may not appear on player uniforms next season, the image will likely be visible on many fans in the stands," said national security and political science major A.J. Miller '20. "A clear majority support the Cleveland Indians' decision to continue to sell merchandise with the logo."

More than 64 percent of those surveyed agree that the team should continue to sell items bearing Chief Wahoo. One in four say the organization should stop merchandising the logo and 11 percent are unsure.

Dates and data set

Opening day for all of Major League Baseball is Thursday March 29, while the Indians' 2018 home opener is set for April 6.

See the topline data set and methodology statement here.

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