Opinion: Braves are right to end the “Tomahawk Chop”


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Elijah Smith, Multimedia Editor

About an hour before the pivotal Game 5 of the Braves/Cardinals series, The Atlanta Braves organization announced that they would “reduce the Tomahawk Chop.” The “Tomahawk Chop” is a sports tradition for teams like the Florida State Seminoles and Atlanta Braves where fans make a chopping motion with their arms in unison with a tribal drum and song. The Braves would hand out foam tomahawks to fans to chop as well.

This tradition started for the Braves when they signed former Florida State athlete Deion Sanders. For years and years, generations of Braves fans have been chopping along to root on their team.

When does tradition cross the line of cultural appropriation? 

After their loss in game 2 against the Braves, rookie Cardinals pitcher Ryan Helsley made a comment saying that “It (the chop) devalues our Cherokee heritage and the Native-American history.” Helsley is a member of the Cherokee Nation and The Braves also decided not to do the chop or the music while he was on the mound. This strikes up an argument against cultural appropriation is sports traditions. I am in favor of the removal of the chop. Although this is a tradition that has lasted for years, the “Tomahawk Chop” is one of the many factors in sports of cultural appropriation of Native Americans. This is a step in the right direction to hopefully end cultural appropriation in sports.