Braves Pull Foam Tomahawks, Chop Chants After Helsley's Comments
The Braves "did not distribute their traditional red foam tomahawks to fans" before yesterday's NLDS Game 5 against the Cardinals, "following criticism" by Cardinals P Ryan Helsley, according to Charles Odum of the AP. There is "no apparent immediate shift in the team's long-term stance on the promotion." However, the Braves said that they will "continue to examine the issue" this offseason (AP, 10/9). ESPN.com's Jesse Rogers noted the decision to pull the foam tomahawks was a "response to recent concerns" raised by Helsley, who is a member of the Cherokee Nation. The Braves also announced that they "would not play the accompanying music" to the Tomahawk Chop chant, nor "use any 'Chop-related graphics' on the scoreboard when Helsley was in the game." The Braves "did play the accompanying music to the chant multiple times" yesterday when Helsley was not in the game, including in the first inning and after 3B Josh Donaldson's fourth inning home run. Helsley "did not pitch" in Game 5 (ESPN.com, 10/9).
SIGN OF THINGS TO COME? USA TODAY's Dan Wolken notes the Braves and their fans had "adopted the chant" in the '90s, and it has "continued to be part of the Braves' in-game presentation ever since" (USA TODAY, 10/10). Helsley said that he "hopes the move by the Braves wasn't just a one-day thing" (THEATHLETIC.com, 10/9). In N.Y., Sarah Valenzuela writes unless the Braves "actually cut the chop and all images of it and the music altogether," and stop fans from doing it as well, this move falls "comically short of the mark." Valenzuela: "The only thing notable about this gesture, faint as it is, is that the organization decided to make any gesture at all rather than stick its fingers in its ears. In baseball, sadly, this counts as progress" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/10).