April 7, 2014— -- They love their team but hate its symbol.
Some Cleveland Indians fans are making a statement by stripping their hats and jerseys of the iconic caricature that’s been associated with the Ohio baseball team for more than 50 years.
“I’m not comfortable with Chief Wahoo so last October, I took a seam ripper to my hat and posted the photo online,” said fan Keith Good, 32, who grew up about an hour from Cleveland.
“And then there was another guy who had tweeted a picture of himself with a jersey that had been similarly altered.”
Good was one of the first proponents of what’s now called “dechiefing,” a growing movement in which fans fed up with the logo post photos of their Indians gear with Wahoo-shaped cutouts on social media.
Most are diehard fans who adore the team and just don’t approve of the logo. Good said he wouldn’t be surprised if a similar movement takes hold with the Washington Redskins – another team whose name has been controversial.
Critics have long blasted the Indians’ bright red, grinning cartoon face with feathers as racist and offensive to Native Americans, and just this year the team replaced the chief with the letter “C” on players’ uniforms.
But Chief Wahoo was never officially retired.
Native Americans protested outside Cleveland’s opening home game on Friday, demanding the logo be abolished.
“The issue is simple,” Robert Roche, executive director of the American Indian Education Center, told The Associated Press. “My children are not mascots. It mocks us as a race of people. It mocks our religion.”
Good agrees the culture has been “misappropriated.”
“And it’s just for a baseball team,” he said.
A spokesperson for the Cleveland Indians didn't immediately respond to ABCNews.com’s request for comment.