Conservatives rail against Braves for reducing 'tomahawk chop' after Native American pitcher calls it 'disrespectful'
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Georgia conservatives tore into the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday for making game-day changes revolving around the “tomahawk chop” chant after Ryan Helsley, a pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals and a member of Cherokee Nation, called it “disappointing and disrespectful.”

The MLB team said in a statement that, "out of respect for the concerns," it would not distribute foam tomahawks to the seats before Game 5 its divisional round playoff series against the Cardinals, which St. Louis went on to win. The Braves also altered some accompanying music and chop-related graphics.

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“As stated earlier, we will continue to evaluate how we activate elements of our brand, as well as the overall in-game experience,” the Braves said in a statement. “We look forward to a continued dialogue with those in the Native American community after the postseason concludes."

Team officials told The St. Louis Dispatch that it is considering how it will promote the tomahawk chop this offseason.

The Cardinals went on to a 13-1 victory over the Braves, causing many Republicans to link the team’s loss to officials curbing the tomahawk chop, as first noted by the Atlanta-Journal Constitution.

Georgia State House Majority Whip Trey Kelley (R) said the low score felt like “karma for the unjustified and rash decision to do away with foam tomahawks.”

Georgia native Nick Ayers, Vice President Pence’s former chief of staff, was also among those chimed in:

Helsley is a member of the Cherokee Nation and the grandson of a full-blooded Cherokee. 

“I think it’s a misrepresentation of the Cherokee people or Native Americans in general,” Helsley said toward the beginning of the series. “Just depicts them in this kind of caveman-type people way who aren’t intellectual. They are a lot more than that. It’s not me being offended by the whole mascot thing. It’s not. It’s about the misconception of us, the Native Americans, and it devalues us and how we’re perceived in that way, or used as mascots. The Redskins and stuff like that.” 

After the Cardinals’ Game 5 victory, Helsley said he was wanted to use his platform to “help people see another side, help people see our side.”

“The fans are supporting their team, and I understand that. The mascot thing is what gets most people,” he said. “I know people will see it the way they want to see it. I want to share my view. I respect the Braves for doing what they did.”

The “tomahawk chop” cheer became a tradition for the Braves in the 1990s. It was borrowed from Florida State University, which has written permission of the Seminole Tribe of Florida to use images and language related to the tribe.

The Cardinals will now face the Washington Nationals in the National League championship series.