Robert Roche, Executive Director of the Cleveland American Indian Education Center, joined Mark Zinno Friday to talk about their lawsuit against the Cleveland Indians.
Roche is part of a Native American group that is planning to file a $9 billion lawsuit next month against the Cleveland Indians and their Chief Wahoo logo. Roche explains in the interview why the logo is so offensive:
“It’s a grotesque characterture of a race of people…We’re human beings. We’re a race of people. My children are human beings; we are not mascots.”
Roche goes on to talk about being bullied into thinking their being honored by the MLB team’s logo, Chief Wahoo.
“The [red] feather, it actually assaults [sic] and attacks our own religion; our own spirituality as well as the paint…We’re not mascots; we’re a race of people.”
Roche, a Chiricahua Apache, said this case was spearheaded by the recent activism to change the Washington Redskins team name. He also called out companies like Budweiser and Nike that are selling products with these teams’ logos on it:
“They’re promoting racism and desparating [sic] by selling those items. Without that financial support from these groups, the Indians and the Redskins would not be in existence at this point. They couldn’t afford to be.”
In the lawsuit, there’s a complaint that the Cleveland organization hasn’t done anything to help Native Americans despite profiting off the Chief Wahoo logo. Mark asked if this lawsuit was more about racism or more about the money that’s not being returned for using the Native American’s image and likeness:
“The issue has never been centered around money,” Roche said. “The issue has always been centered around them changing the name and logo. The difference now is that if there’s a monetary settlement, if it’s going to cost money, people are more likely to make changes.”
Not only does Roche want the logo to change, he also wants Cleveland to get rid of the ‘Indians’ team name altogether. He also said that teams throughout the country, including high schools, should all remove their disparaging names as well:
“Yes, maybe across the board. Many schools and colleges have changed their name and logo voluntarily and it’s still continuing on. People have realized that it’s offensive, and it’s not necessary to offend a race of people, especially Native Americans.”
Listen to the full interview below: