Georgia Sens. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., and David Perdue, R-Ga., released a joint statement Tuesday morning saying they oppose renaming the Atlanta Braves baseball team.
Loeffler and Perdue, incumbents on the ballot in Georgia's Jan. 5 runoff election, said the Braves nickname honors Native Americans. Their statement came two days after The New York Times reported the major league team planned to discard a nickname considered racist by some people.
"We adamantly oppose any effort to rename the Atlanta Braves, one of our state's most storied and successful sports franchises," Perdue and Loeffler said in a statement on Twitter. "Not only are the Braves a Georgia institution – with a history spanning 54 years in Atlanta – they're an American institution.
"The Braves' name honors our nation's Native American heritage, which should not be erased – and under no circumstances should one of the most celebrated teams in sports cave to the demands of the cancel culture and the radical left."
The Braves indicated during the summer they had no intention to change the nickname. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported team officials said Monday they were in "discussions" about the tomahawk chop chant at the start of games.
St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Ryan Helsley, a member of the Cherokee Nation, said the tomahawk chop, "depicts [Native Americans] in this kind of caveman-type people way."
"It's not me being offended by the whole mascot thing," Helsley said per the Athens Banner-Herald. "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."
The NFL's Washington Football Team, formerly known as the Redskins before the current season, changed its team nickname that had been considered a racial slur.
Other professional sports teams often in the discussion for a possible name change include the NFL's Kansas City Chiefs and the NHL's Chicago Blackhawks.
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