The Kansas City Chiefs have taken the next step in creating a new era at Arrowhead Stadium.
The new era in question has nothing to do with star quarterback Patrick Mahomes or coach Andy Reid. For years, Kansas City Chiefs fans have arrived at stadiums across the country, especially Arrowhead, wearing Native American-imagery and headdresses.
Those looks are a thing of the past — and that may not be the only change coming in Kansas City.
The Chiefs banned headdresses from Arrowhead Stadium
The NFL underwent a major accountability revolution through the first half of 2020.
The Washington Redskins are no more. Instead, the Washington football team is aptly now named the Washington Football Team.
Washington also ditched its logo and all Native American imagery associated with the franchise.
Although the Kansas City Chiefs don’t intend to change their name or logo right now, the franchise is making one significant change.
On August 20, the Chiefs issued a lengthy statement announcing that fans are prohibited from wearing headdresses or “face paint that is styled in a way that references or appropriates American Indian cultures.”
“We are grateful for the meaningful conversations we have had with all of these American Indian leaders,” the Chiefs wrote. “It is important that we continue the dialogue on these significant topics, and we look forward to continuing to work together in the future.”
Kansas City Chiefs fans had mixed reactions
Although reactions to the Chiefs’ decision were varied, the team received plenty of positive feedback.
“As a fan since the 1960s, I applaud this,” one fan tweeted at the team.
Another Twitter user compared and contrasted the Chiefs’ approach to how Washington handled its name change.
“The professionalism displayed here really puts a proper clown suit on Dan Snyder. The Chiefs have not found the perfect scenario yet, but show in detail how they are working toward a more perfect way.”
Chris Cero, a Kansas City radio producer and host, tweeted he was, “[g]lad they’re moving away from some of that stuff.
Other responses were more sarcastic.
“What if you guys dropped the “I” from your name and embraced KC’s bbq scene,” a Twitter user joked. “Highly doubt Coach Reid would have any qualms.”
The Kansas City Chiefs may have another change coming
The Kansas City Chiefs’ ban on Native American imagery may not be the only forthcoming change.
The Chiefs announced in the statement they are engaged in a “thorough review process of the Arrowhead Chop.” Additionally, the Chiefs plan to have additional discussions regarding the gesture.
The Arrowhead Chop, or just The Chop, has been a staple at Chiefs games for years. Kansas City isn’t the only franchise that features The Chop at games.
The Atlanta Braves’ usage of the Tomahawk Chop has not only become a Twitter meme, but it lent itself to trouble last fall. Atlanta agreed to reduce The Chop after Cardinals pitcher Ryan Helsley, who is Native American, called it “insulting.”
The Chop isn’t the only longstanding tradition Kansas City is exploring ditching. The Chiefs added they are discussing the Drum Deck, an area that has earned accusations of culture appropriation in the past.
“We are exploring all options for a modified engagement moment from the Drum Deck that maintains a unifying effect between our fans and our players but better represents the spiritual significance of the drum in American Indian cultures. This includes discussions around how to shift the focus of the drum to something that symbolizes the heartbeat of the stadium.”
Games at Arrowhead Stadium could look quite different within the next few years. Off the field, at least.
On the field, Chiefs fans will have plenty more years to enjoy Patrick Mahomes at quarterback. Whether or not fans perform the Arrowhead Chop after touchdowns is another story.