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Native American group planning $9 billion lawsuit against the Indians

By Mike Axisa / Baseball Writer

A Native America group plans to sue over the Chief Wahoo logo you see on Jason Kipnis' cap.

A Native American group plans to sue over the Chief Wahoo logo you see on Jason Kipnis' cap. (USATSI)

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A Native American group is planning to file a $9 billion federal lawsuit against the Cleveland Indians and their "offensive" Chief Wahoo logo, according to CBS Cleveland. The suit is expected to be filed next month.

Here's more from CBS Cleveland:

Robert Roche, a Chiricahua Apache and director of the American Indian Education Center, is planning to file a federal lawsuit in late July against the Cleveland Indians organization. Roche, who is also the leader of the group People Not Mascots, says the lawsuit will challenge that the team’s name and Chief Wahoo logo are racist.

“We’re going to be asking for $9 billion and we’re basing it on a hundred years of disparity, racism, exploitation and profiteering,” Roche told WEWS-TV. “It’s been offensive since day one. We are not mascots. My children are not mascots. We are people.”

Local supporters of the Chief Wahoo logo say it is only a small minority of people who are offended by the logo.

“If just a small amount of people are against it, than I think you’re doing a disservice to people that like it,” Bob Rosen, president of the Wahoo Club, tells WEWS. He added that thousands of Indians fans embrace Chief Wahoo as a loyal and friendly symbol.

“I’m not insensitive to the issue, but our 1,650 members of the Wahoo Club, anytime we have a Wahoo Club item they but it up they love it,” Rosen said. “Can you imagine the baseball team in this city not being called the Cleveland Indians? I can’t picture that.”

The Indians have been gradually phasing out the Chief Wahoo logo over the last few years, replacing it with the red block letter "C" logo.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office stripped the NFL's Washington Redskins of its trademark last week and called the team name a "racial slur." The Redskins are appealing the landmark ruling. People Not Mascots is looking for similar action against the Indians.

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