Baseball's Cleveland Indians are facing a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't situation over Chief Wahoo, the team's longtime caricature/mascot.
Fans love the depiction of a grinning, big-nosed Indian?and continue to shell out big bucks on merchandise adorned by its likeness. Native American activists, however, do not see any humor in the caricature and consider it racist.
The issue is about to come to a head, as Indians owner Richard Jacobs, a Chief Wahoo supporter, recently put the team up for sale.
Whoever buys the Indians, who have been among the most successful franchises in baseball in the'90s, will immediately be faced with a big decision, according to sports marketing pro Brandon Steiner. 'The new owner will be in a huge pressure cooker with regard to how loud people will scream about this,' he said.