Braves fans perform ‘Tomahawk Chop’ chant in defiance of Native American Cardinals pitcher’s outcry

Atlanta Braves fans ignored the wishes of their team and their opponent’s Native American pitcher Wednesday night by continuing to perform their famous tomahawk chop during their blowout loss to the St. Louis Cardinals.

The Braves organization made good on its promise not to distribute foam tomahawks to fans ahead of the game, but it didn’t stop the Atlanta faithful from performing the tomahawk chop chant with their arms or belting the battle cry at the beginning of the game.

It set the tone for a record-setting offensive performance by the Cardinals who scored 10 runs in the game’s first inning before going on to defeat their opponents 13-1, ending Atlanta’s playoff run and hopes of another World Series birth. 

Braves officials agreed earlier in the day to try to limit the use of the tomahawk chant Wednesday night in response to recent remarks made by St. Louis rookie pitcher Ryan Helsley, 25, who is Cherokee.

The Atlanta Braves have agreed to try to limit the use of their famous 'tomahawk chop' chant during their game tonight against the Cardinals in response to recent remarks made by a St. Louis player who is Native American

The Atlanta Braves have agreed to try to limit the use of their famous ‘tomahawk chop’ chant during their game tonight against the Cardinals in response to recent remarks made by a St. Louis player who is Native American

Rookie pitcher Ryan Helsley, 25, who is Cherokee, told reporters on friday that  it bothers him how indigenous people are used as mascots in sports by teams like the Braves and the Washington Redskins

Rookie pitcher Ryan Helsley, 25, who is Cherokee, told reporters on friday that  it bothers him how indigenous people are used as mascots in sports by teams like the Braves and the Washington Redskins

Helsley told reporters on Friday he disapproves of how indigenous people are used as mascots in sports by teams like the Braves and the Washington Redskins.

His remarks came a day after he took the mound against the Braves in Atlanta as fans performed their long-time chant, complete with the waving of their novelty foam tomahawks.

‘I think it’s a misrepresentation of the Cherokee people or Native Americans in general, just depicts them in this kind of caveman-type people way who aren’t intellectual,’ Helsley told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Friday.

The Braves responded to Helsley's comments on Wednesday saying the team won't distribute foam tomahawks to seated fans the way it normally does for its latest game against the Cardinals.

The Braves responded to Helsley’s comments on Wednesday saying the team won’t distribute foam tomahawks to seated fans the way it normally does for its latest game against the Cardinals.

‘It’s not me being offended by the whole mascot thing. 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.’ 

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The Braves responded to Helsley’s comments on Wednesday saying the team won’t distribute foam tomahawks to seated fans the way it normally does for its latest game against the Cardinals.

The team also said it won’t use tomahawk chop-related graphics and won’t play its chop-chant music  when Helsley is on the field. 

‘Out of respect for the concerns expressed by Mr. Helsley, we will take several efforts to reduce the Tomahawk Chop during our in-ballpark presentation today,’ the team said in a statement reported by WSB-TV.

‘We will continue to evaluate how we activate elements of our brand, as well as the overall in-game experience. We look forward to a continued dialogue with those in the Native American community after the postseason concludes.’ 

Helsley told reporters on Friday that the tomahawk display is a 'misrepresentation of the Cherokee people or Native Americans in general'

Helsley told reporters on Friday that the tomahawk display is a ‘misrepresentation of the Cherokee people or Native Americans in general’

A 2016 picture of Helsley (center) with his Cherokee Nation family on his Facebook page

A 2016 picture of Helsley (center) with his Cherokee Nation family on his Facebook page 

The NL Central division-leading Cardinals are crushing the Braves 13-1 right now in the bottom of the sixth inning.

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