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MLB commissioner Rob Manfred says Atlanta Braves can keep name, tomahawk chop

Ahead of Game 1 of the World Series, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred explained why the Atlanta Braves will be allowed to keep their name and the tomahawk chop.

HOUSTON — Editor's note: the video in the player above is from a previous story.

After the Cleveland Indians announced earlier this year that they would change their name following the 2021 MLB season, many wondered if the Atlanta Braves would be next. But according to MLB commissioner Rob Manfred, the league remains not only in full support of the Braves' name, but the fans' tomahawk chop celebration.

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“I think it’s important to understand that we have 30 markets in the country,’’ Manfred said ahead of Game 1 of the World Series between the Braves and Houston Astros on Tuesday night, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today. “Not all are the same. The Braves have done a phenomenal job with the Native American community. The Native American community in that region is fully supportive of the Braves’ program, including the chop.

“For me, that’s kind of the end of the story.’’

Following the 2016 season, Manfred revealed that he had discussions with Indians owner Paul Dolan about the team dropping its Chief Wahoo logo, which many considered to be a racist Native American caricature. The Indians ultimately ceased using the logo following the 2018 season and announced earlier this year that they would be changing their name to the Guardians following the 2021 campaign.

"Major League Baseball is committed to building a culture of diversity and inclusion throughout the game,” Manfred said in a statement regarding the Chief Wahoo logo in 2018. “The club ultimately agreed with my position that the logo is no longer appropriate for on-field use in Major League Baseball."

But while Manfred has seemingly been supportive of the Indians moving away from their Native American-inspired name and imagery, he made it clear on Tuesday that he remains in support of the Braves, citing the franchise's relationship with its local Native American community.

“Atlanta, as I’ve said before,’’ Manfred said, “they’ve done a great job with the Native Americans. I think the Native American community is the most important group to decide whether it’s appropriate or not and they have been unwaveringly supportive of the Braves.’’

As for how Native Americans in other communities might feel about the Braves' nickname and tomahawk chop, Manfred said that in this particular instance, his focus remains on Atlanta.

“I don’t know how every Native American group around the country feels,’’ he said. “I am 100 percent certain that the Braves understand what the Native American community in their region believes and that they’ve acted in accordance with that understanding.’

“We don’t market our game on a nationwide basis. You got to sell tickets every single day to the fans in that market. And there are all sorts of differences between the regions in terms of how the teams are marketed."

The Braves beat the Astros 6-2 on Tuesday to take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven World Series.

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