ATLANTA -- Announcements by the Washington NFL team and the Cleveland Indians that they will consider name changes have raised questions about whether the Atlanta Braves will do likewise.
The team's top executive, Terry McGuirk, has an unambiguous answer.
"We are so proud of our team's name, and our expectation is that we will always be the Atlanta Braves," said McGuirk, the Braves' chairman.
"I would say unequivocally the Atlanta Braves' name will stay the Atlanta Braves," McGuirk added a few minutes later. "We come to that position as a result of ... a lot of listening to our fans, to the Native American community. We have spent the last six months trying to make sure we are grounded in everything we say going forward, so I would again answer the question: Yes, we will be the Atlanta Braves."
McGuirk and Braves President and CEO Derek Schiller discussed the team's name and related issues, including the tomahawk chop by fans and the tomahawk logo on game jerseys, in an exclusive hour-long interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The executives said the tomahawk will remain on the Braves' jerseys, but were noncommittal about the future of the chop at Truist Park.
"The brand goes along with the name," McGuirk said. "The tomahawk logo on the jersey as a big piece of our iconography is here to stay. We are proud of it. We think our constituencies hold it in an equally high level of esteem."
The team's position on the tomahawk chop at games is a different and unresolved question, the executives said.
"At this point in time, those discussions are still ongoing," Schiller said. "... It's a topic that deserves a lot of debate and a lot of discussion and a lot of thoughtfulness, and that's exactly what we are doing."
"Let's state the obvious: We didn't invent the chop," McGuirk said. "It came with (former Braves player) Deion Sanders when he arrived from Florida State. Our fans adopted it. It became a symbol of our fans' excitement when we were doing well, when there was a crescendo in the game, and frankly we have all been amazed by how it has taken off and the longevity of it as a piece of our lore now. So it is important to our fans.