As the Kansas City Chiefs Inch Toward Possible Dynasty Status, Super Bowl 57 Will See Its Share of Protesters
If the Kansas City Chiefs can pull off the slight upset of the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl 57, dynasty talk might start making its way through the NFL rounds. It would mark the franchise’s second Super Bowl in four years and their third appearance in that stretch.
While the Chiefs are in the football news, the high-publicity game also puts protesters in the spotlight. They plan to make themselves heard this weekend as they rally for a name change.
While the Kansas City Chiefs shine, some want the name changed
It’s happened in the NFL and other sports. Are the Chiefs next? After years of insisting there would never be a name change, Washington Commanders owner Daniel Snyder dropped the “Redskins” nickname after much from Native Americans and advertisers. In Major League Baseball, the Cleveland Indians are now the Cleveland Guardians.
With the Chiefs back in the spotlight on center stage, protesters are back in action.
While not all Native Americans take offense to these nicknames, there are plenty who believe nicknames such as “Chiefs” or Indians” aren’t flattering. It goes beyond the nickname. Fans chopping at the games and wearing headdresses are deemed offensive by some who don’t believe they’re being honored. They believe they are being mocked.
According to USA Today, the team banned headdresses and Native-themed warpaint from the stadium in 2020. That hasn’t eliminated what some Native Americans believe is a problem.
“Even though the team has tried to take away the most blatant racism … there’s still so much left with the chopping and the business with the drum and that same behavior,” said Gaylene Crouser, executive director of the Kansas City Indian Center and a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. “It’s nothing for us to have people come up and scream in our faces and start singing that mimicking-stereotypes song and just start chopping right through our face.
“When fans scream that they mean to honor Native Americans, they are passing Native people who literally are holding a sign saying ‘There is no honor in this.’ We love our team, but we don’t love the name, and we don’t love the chop.”
Protests are planned at the Super Bowl
The Chiefs were once the Dallas Texans. When the franchise moved to Kansas City in 1963, the owners changed the name to Chiefs in honor of H. Roe Bartle, the mayor of Kansas City in the early 1960s. According to Chiefs.com, Mayor Bartle, nicknamed “Chief,” was instrumental in landing the team in Kansas City. Longtime Chiefs executive Jack Steadman recommended the new name to pay homage to Bartle’s efforts.
The team site says the origin of the name has no affiliation with American Indian culture and has worked hard at eliminating any offensive imagery. It also says the team is “committed to ensuring that our actions as a club honor American Indians.”
Crouser and other Native Americans plan to be in Arizona for Super Bowl Sunday with their signs that read, “Love the team, hate the name,” among others. She added, “Kansas City deserves better.”
According to USA Today, Amanda Blackhorse, a Navajo woman who led a team of Native people who sued the NFL to remove Washington’s previous nickname, stands with Crouser. Blackhorse’s group, “No More Native Mascots,” is working with the Kansas City Indian Center to organize the protest.