Chiefs to ban Native American imagery at Arrowhead

In pregame demonstration a celebrity bangs the drum while fans all perform the ‘chop’

The Kansas City Chiefs are “engaged in a thorough review process of the Arrowhead Chop”. File photograph: Getty Images

The Kansas City Chiefs are “engaged in a thorough review process of the Arrowhead Chop”. File photograph: Getty Images

 

The Kansas City Chiefs announced Thursday they are banning fans from wearing headdresses or face paint that “references or appropriates American Indian cultures and traditions” at Arrowhead Stadium.

The team is also “engaged in a thorough review process of the Arrowhead Chop and plan to have additional discussions in the future,” according to a news release.

In the release, the Chiefs referred to starting a dialogue with local Native American leaders in 2014, adding that they “recently expanded our efforts through consultation with a national organisation that works closely on issues affecting American Indian people and tribes.”

Those discussions led to the changes regarding headdresses and face paint.

In addition to reviewing the “chop,” the team said it is “exploring all options” to modify its pregame demonstration from the “drum deck,” where traditionally a celebrity bangs the drum while fans all perform the “chop.”

The change comes as sports teams across the continent are making or considering changes to names and imagery that many view as racist or insensitive toward Native Americans.

The Washington Football Team dropped their longtime name and logo last month, and the Canadian Football League’s Edmonton Football Team dropped their name soon after.

Major League Baseball’s Cleveland Indians are in active discussions about a name change, while the Atlanta Braves said they are not changing their name but will evaluate their own tomahawk chop.

The Chiefs announced earlier this week that Arrowhead Stadium will be reduced to 22 percent capacity, or around 17,000 fans, this season due to the coronavirus pandemic. The defending champions are scheduled to open the season at home on September 10th against the Houston Texans.

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