MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said he was not talking to the Braves about the continued use of Tomahawk Chop songs.
Speaking to the press at The Braves’ new spring training home, CoolToday Park, on Sunday, Manfred was asked if he would speak to the Braves about a song that has been part of the Braves culture since the 1990s.
Manfred explained that chops are simply not one of MLB’s priorities at the moment. Baseball is responsible for handling the Astros’ scandal, which has a ripple effect on the entire sport, spreading dialogue and controversial wildfires.
Sorry, everything is going on, so I can honestly say I haven’t had a conversation with the Braves about Tomahawk Chop, Manfred said. I don’t understand that it’s a problem, but I haven’t reached it because there’s so much going on.
The sudden change was caused by comments from Cardinals pitcher Ryan Hersley, whose family has deep roots in Cherokee Nation.
In an interview with the St. Louis Dispatch, Hersley described the song as “disrespectful” and “a kind of caver.”
When asked if he wanted to remove the chops from the Braves presentation, Manfred did not offer any specific yes or no. He repeated that MLB would eventually discuss the issue with the club.
Look, I think in all sports we’ve seen different communities with different levels of tolerance for certain issues, he said.
I didn’t have a chance to talk to Atlanta as a follow-up to what I saw last season. It happens elsewhere.
You need to think about how much you want to regulate what happens in a particular community, especially in a baseball field.
On the other hand, I have certainly understood the sensitivity of this theme and have been actively working on native American concerns about the Indian logo. So it’s something that continues to be a conversational topic.