More On: Atlanta Braves
The White House wants people to talk about the Atlanta Braves' name change... on the same day, Biden hosts a team
Monday, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told the Atlanta Braves that they should 'talk' about picking a new name. This was just hours after President Biden hosted the team to celebrate their 2021 World Series win.
Jennifer Jacobs of Bloomberg News asked Jean-Pierre about Biden's thoughts on the Braves' name and the controversial "tomahawk chop" cheer at her regular briefing.
Jean-Pierre said, "You know, we think it's important to have this conversation, and Native American and indigenous voices should be at the center of it."
"This is something the president and his administration believe, and he has always stressed that everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect," she said.
"This is something you hear a lot from this president. It's the same here. And we should listen to Native Americans and other people who have been affected the most by this."
During a party in the White House East Room, Biden didn't mind saying the team's name. He also pointed out that the name has been used since 1912, when the Boston Rustlers changed their name to the Boston Braves.
"My grandfather was an All-American football player at Santa Clara, and he worked for a newspaper in Scranton, Pa. He went by the name of Ambrose Finnegan. He didn't like it when it was the Boston Braves. But that's a different story," Biden joked.
When he congratulated the team on winning the championship, the president said, "The Braves will always be remembered for their unstoppable, joyful run last year."
Biden also said nice things about Hank Aaron, who played for the team for 21 seasons in Milwaukee and Atlanta.
Aaron "broke a lot of records, but he also broke them when it came to racism, with class and dignity," the president said.
"Last year's start was rough because of all the injuries. Before the All-Star break, the team had not won a single game. CNN said they had a 0.4% chance of winning. "No, I'm just kidding," Biden said.
"Anyway, the franchise never stopped. It didn't give up. Almost overnight, you rebuilt the whole outfield. Play by play, inning by inning, you worked hard, and you worked hard together.
Biden even made a joke about how close he would come to winning in Georgia in 2020.
"People gave up on you. I know what it's like to be written off. "And I know that in Georgia, when it counts, you show up," he said.
Native American activists have asked sports teams all over the country to change their names because they think it's offensive to use their culture as a marketing tool.
In July 2020, the Washington Redskins gave in to a long-running campaign to change the name of the football team. Some supporters said the name had been used as a racial slur in the past. Now, the team is called the Commanders.
Last year, the Cleveland Indians baseball team changed its name to the Guardians.
It's not clear if American Indians want the Braves to change their name, though.
Last year, Rob Manfred, the head of Major League Baseball, said that American Indians like the name "Braves."
Manfred said, "The Braves have done a great job with the Native American community." "The Native American people in that area support the Braves program, including the chop, in every way. And for me, that's pretty much where the story ends. Taking into account the Native American community, it works in that market."
In 2020, Richard Sneed, the leader of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in western North Carolina, defended the name "Braves."
The chief said, "The name of the Washington Redskins was probably the only team name I could look at and say, 'That's offensive, that's a racial slur.'" "But all the rest are proof that native people have honor, strength, courage, and a warrior spirit."
Other groups don't like the name "Braves." The National Council of American Indians and the Muscogee Nation, which is based in Oklahoma but is originally from the Southeast, want the team to change its name.