Court dismisses attempted ban of Cleveland Indians from using their name and logo in Toronto

The Cleveland Indians' Chief Wahoo logo.
(Charles Krupa / Associated Press)

An Ontario Canada judge on Monday dismissed an attempt to ban the Cleveland Indians from using their name and logo during the American League Championship Series in Toronto.

Indigenous activist Douglas Cardinal, an officer of the Order of Canada, had asked the Ontario Superior Court to prevent the Indians from using their team name and logo — a cartoon man with red skin named Chief Wahoo — while playing in Toronto.

He asked that the Cleveland team be referred to during broadcasts only as, well, “the Cleveland team.”


Also, Cardinal does not want the team to wear its regular jerseys because of the logo, which he says shouldn’t be broadcast at all. He is seeking an injunction against the Indians, Major League Baseball and Rogers Communications, which is broadcasting the ALCS and also owns the Blue Jays and the stadium they play in, the Rogers Centre.

Ontario Superior Court Justice Tom McEwen said he would give his reasons for dismissing Cardinal’s challenge at a later date.

Rogers Communications spokesman Aaron Lazarus said in a statement that it would be “virtually impossible” to broadcast the game without showing the Indians’ name or logo “on the field, in the stands and in the stadium.”

Lazarus stated that the company understands that many people have concerns over the Cleveland team’s name and logo, but “the playoff series between the Jays and Cleveland is also significantly important to millions of passionate baseball fans across Canada. Punishing these fans by blocking the broadcast of the games doesn’t seem like the right solution.”

The Indians organization told the Toronto Star that it was “aware of the situation” and had no further comment.

Major League Baseball said in a statement: “We would welcome a thoughtful and inclusive dialogue to address these concerns outside the context of litigation. Given the demands for completing the League Championship Series in a timely manner, MLB will defend Cleveland’s right to use their name that has been in existence for more than 100 years.”


Twitter: @chewkiii


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12:25 p.m.: This article has been updated with a comment from Major League Baseball.

3:37 p.m.: This article has been updated with the judge’s dismissal of the name ban.

This article originally appeared at 9:15 a.m.