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Northeast Ohioans have emotional connection to Chief Wahoo, survey finds

(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

CLEVELAND– While the Cleveland Indians continue to phase out Chief Wahoo, a recent survey found Northeast Ohioans still prefer the controversial mascot.

On Wednesday, Baldwin Wallace University released its findings after polling more than 500 people across seven area counties.

The study shows 70 percent of participants believe Chief Wahoo, “represents more than the team– it represents the city of Cleveland.” About 60 percent said they have, “a strong emotional connection” and “pride” in the Wahoo logo.

Less than half felt the same about the Block C logo.

About 48 percent of those questioned do not find Native American mascots disrespectful. One in four said the Indians should stop selling merchandise featuring Chief Wahoo.

“It’s clear that Wahoo is seen as more than just a baseball mascot, he is a representation of Cleveland,” said political science major Reese Albright. “Despite what decisions the organization has made, a majority of fans are continuing to proudly support their Chief.”

After discussions between Tribe owner Paul Dolan and MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, the Indians made the decision to remove Wahoo from uniforms for the 2019 season.

Chief Wahoo will remain on uniform sleeves and caps this year, and the team will continue to sell merchandise with the mascot.

The Indians open their season on Thursday in Seattle. The home opener is April 6 against the Royals.

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