When a story like Scott Cacciola’s New York Times piece about the discombobulation of a planned “Native American Heritage Day” at Citi Field hits, the real fun comes from perusing the reader comments. Especially when feedback is attached to a site that is intelligently monitored and moderated.
Somehow, the Mets managed to say yes to a July 25 day of partnership with NYC non-profit American Indian Community House without factoring in the complications that might arise from the fact that the scheduled opponents were the Atlanta Braves. Cacciola retraces how it all fell apart, beginning with a spring email from a Mets representative. In the meantime, here are a couple of the most noteworthy reader observations:
Leggy Meggy (Athens, GA): The Braves tomahawk chop is actually adopted from the Florida State Seminoles, who have a standing relationship with the Seminole Tribe of Florida, who approve logos, mascot costumes and other traditions. This relationship is the reason that FSU was able to keep its Native American mascot while many other NCAA teams were forced to abandon theirs after the NCAA banned Native American mascots in post-season play. Personally I don’t feel the chop or logo are offensive, especially since the chop has apparently been approved by at least one tribe.
Moses (New York): Obviously there was something in how the non-profit responded to team queries (i.e. WHY did they choose a game against the Braves) that put off Mets’ management. It could well be that the organization planned to use the event in part as a political stump against the use of Native imagery and associations in sports. I don’t think the team is totally to blame here.
Moses is right; in a situation like this, damage control from the Mets/MLB end is completely understandable. Even if the team, their opponents and AICH carried it all out respectfully on July 25, sports bloggers would still have likely had a field day.