A St. Louis Cardinals rookie relief pitcher on Friday called out Atlanta Braves fans' "Tomahawk Chop" tradition as "disappointing" and "disrespectful," according to a report.
The remarks by Ryan Helsley, a member of the Cherokee Nation, came as The Cardinals and Braves meet in the National League Division Series as part of the MLB Postseason.
"I think it's a misrepresentation of the Cherokee people or Native Americans in general," Helsely told reporters at Atlanta's SunTrust Park, according to the St. . Louis Post-Dispatch.
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For years, "The Chop" has been a tradition for Braves fans.
Helsley, who witnessed “The Chop” when he came out to pitch in the 8th inning of Game 1
"I don't think I'm being offended by the whole mascot thing," he said. “The talk about the misconception of us, the Native Americans, and it devalues us and how it is perceived in that way, or used as mascots. The Redskins and stuff like that. "(The NFL's Washington Redskins have faced criticism for team names over the years, but club owners have argued against changing it.)
Helsley told the Post-Dispatch he didn't notice" The Chop "while he was pitching, but made an impression on him earlier in the game.
" The Chop "came to be part of the Braves' fan experience after the team moved to Atlanta from Milwaukee during the 1960s.
It originated with Florida State football.The Seminole Tribe of Florida gave written permission for the team to use it.
While feelings were mixed on "The Chop," Major League Baseball has pressured the Cleveland Indians to end their use of "Chief Wahoo" logo and mascot.
"The Braves have taken steps to take out the Tomahawk Chop," MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said in February.
But, the Post-Dispatch noted, #ChopOn is an official team hashtag.
“That's the d isappointing part, ”Helsley told the Post-Dispatch. “That stuff like this still goes on. It's just disrespectful, I think. "
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" Using our heritage as a mascot – it's not the best thing, "he said. "There are schools that have changed their mascots in the past 20, 30 years. I see why professional teams are so far behind on that. "