White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre says that the White House wants to encourage the Atlanta Braves to consider a name change.
This comes just hours after Prez Joe Biden hosted the team celebrating their 2021 World Series championship and is raising more than a few eyebrows. During the celebration, Biden lauded legend Hank Aaron and even compared the Braves’ comeback season win in 2021 to his electoral victory in 2020.
A Bloomberg News reporter asked Jean-Pierre about Biden’s thoughts about the Braves’ controversial nickname and their signature “tomahawk chop” cheer, shared by many smaller teams across the country.
Jean-Pierre said, “We believe that it’s important to have this conversation, you know, and Native American and indigenous voices should be at the center of this conversation. That is something that the president believes, this administration believes, and he has consistently emphasized that all people deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.” She continued, “You hear that often from this president. The same is true here. And we should listen to Native American and indigenous people who are the most impacted by this.”
If Jean-Pierre is telling the truth, maybe someone should have handed Biden the memo after he gleefully said it during the White House East Room celebration. Biden even mentioned that the name’s use dates back to the team’s original name change in the early 1900s, jokingly explaining, “My grandfather was an All-American football player at Santa Clara, and he was a newspaper guy up in Scranton, PA. His name was Ambrose Finnegan. And when it was the Boston Braves, he didn’t like it. But at any rate, that’s another story.”
It’s not exactly surprising that the administration is taking this opportunity to turn the team’s name into a political issue, but that’s not surprising that he managed to pigeonhole “Scranton” into yet another conversation.