A Canadian activist went to court Friday to compel the Cleveland Indians to shed their regular uniforms when playing the Blue Jays in Toronto.
Douglas Cardinal, who is himself of indigenous (the Canadian term for Native American) descent, filed suit before the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, the Canadian Human Rights Commission, and the Ontario Superior Court. The Superior Court will have a hearing on the case Monday.
The activist justifies his case by claiming that the Cleveland Indians mascot which is a cartoon face of a red-skinned man with a headband and a feather is offensive. Cardinal also deems Cleveland Indians as a team name to be offensive.
Major League Baseball (MBL), Rogers Communications, and the Cleveland Indians are all potentially subject to an injunction if Cardinal gets his way in court. Rogers Communications owns the Blue Jays and their stadium.
“We should be displaying more consciousness in the choices we make in relation to logos,” Michael Swinwood, Cardinal’s attorney says according to the Toronto Star. “It’s offensive to indigenous people, and it needs to be addressed,” Swinwood also said of the Cleveland Indians’ team logo.
If the suit is deemed valid, the Cleveland Indians will have to change their uniform while playing in the MLB’s American League Championship Series at Rogers Center (the Blue Jays’ stadium). The Cleveland Indians should instead only be referred to as “The Cleveland Team” going forward according to Cardinal’s spokesman James Fuller.
Cardinal, who is a renowned architect, did the conceptual design work for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian.
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