Monday’s Say Hey, Baseball isn’t surprised by MLB’s merchandise decisions, just disappointed.
Remember back when MLB announced the racist Chief Wahoo logo would be removed from the Cleveland Indians’ franchise after 2018, and we said it was mostly a move done for the sake of PR, and that MLB was still going to profit off of Wahoo for at least a year, anyway? In a turn of events no one could have seen coming, MLB decided to give profiting off racism a go on Jackie Robinson Day.
On Sunday, Jackie Robinson Day, an annual moment meant to mark the breaking of baseball’s color barrier in 1947, there was a baseball cap available for purchase through MLB’s shop featuring a celebratory Jackie Robinson patch on Cleveland’s hat that uses the Chief Wahoo logo. This kind of thing should be like anti-matter meeting matter, leading to the hat just poofing out of existence as the two negated each other — since MLB would eventually remove the hat from the store, something like that did kind of happen! That doesn’t change the fact that this existed to begin with, though, and that MLB only removed it because people took notice and were perplexed at what kind of message the league meant to send with it.
As For The Win pointed out, you can still buy an Indians’ jersey featuring both the Jackie Robinson Day patch and Chief Wahoo on it, but the hat is gone. Just like the removal of the logo itself, apparently we’ll just have to be satisfied with baby steps while there is money to be made, even if that money comes from a reminder that Robinson means more to MLB as a symbol of how not-racist they are following the enlightenment brought on by his career. Symbols are good PR, you know, and when they’re dead and gone, they can’t even argue with how you use them. Convenient, right?
It was obvious something like this was going to happen once it was clear the logo was sticking around for 2018. MLB’s announcement to the world that Wahoo was going away was also an announcement that, hey, you have to buy while you still can, and slapping a Jackie Robinson Day patch on a hat with Wahoo is just further proof that we’re not really being cynical when the league goes out of their way to prove us right.
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