A St. Louis Cardinals rookie relief pitcher on Friday described the Tomahawk Chop tradition of Atlanta Braves fans as "disappointing" and "disrespectful" according to a report.
Ryan Helsley, a member of The Cherokee Nation, came as the Cardinals and Braves met in the MLB postseason in a National League Division Series.
"I think this is a misrepresentation of the Cherokee population or Native Americans in general," Helsely told reporters at Atlanta's SunTrust Park, according to St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
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For years, "The Chop" has been a tradition for Braves fans. They pick up foam tomahawks and start singing when the visiting team calls a relief pitcher.
Helsley, who witnessed "The Chop" when he came out to pitch in the 8th inning of Game 1
"I'm not offended by the whole mascot thing," he said. "It's about the misunderstanding of us, the Native Americans, and it vindicates us and how we are perceived or used as mascots in this way – the Redskins and the like." (The Washington Redskins of the NFL have become over the years because of the name The team criticized it, but the club's owners opposed it.)
Helsley told the post-dispatch that he did not notice "The Chop" while he was on the pitch, but it impressed him at the beginning of the game.
"The Chop" became part of the Braves fan experience decades after the team moved from Milwaukee to Atlanta in the 1960s.
The origin of the game lies in the football of the state of Florida. The Seminole Florida tribe gave the team written permission to use it using the "Chief Wahoo" logo and mascot.
"The Braves have taken steps to eliminate the Tomahawk Chop," said MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred in February an official team hashtag. That's an important part, "Helsley told the Post-Dispatch. "The stuff still goes on. It's just disrespectful, I think. "
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" Using our heritage as a mascot – it's not the best, "he said. "There have been schools that have changed their mascots over the last 20 or 30 years, and I do not understand why professional teams are so far behind in this regard."