Georgia Governor Brian Kemp let the White House know where he stands on changing the Atlanta Braves name or their fans’ “tomahawk chop” cheer.
The Braves visited President Biden at the White House on Monday to celebrate their 2021 World Series championship win from last November.
Biden congratulated the “Upset Kings of October,” after the came back from a less than .500 record to dominate the playoffs against the Milwaukee Brewers, Los Angeles Dodgers and Houston Astros in an “improbable” run to take their first league title in 26 years.
“It was a rough start, played through injuries. At the All-Star break, not one day with a winning record. Given a 0.4 percent chance of winning on CNN. I listen to all the percentages on CNN, you know?My batting average isn’t nearly as good,” he joked.
“But the franchise never quit, never gave in,” Biden continued. “You rebuilt the whole outfield practically overnight. Play by play, inning by inning, you ground it out, and you did it together.”
What started as a celebration, ended in controversy, when a reporter asked White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre about the team name and fan chant, the “tomahawk chop,” hours after the event ended.
“We believe that it’s important to have this conversation, and Native American and Indigenous voices, they should be at the center of this conversation,” Jean-Pierre remarked.
“That is something that the president believes and something that this administration believes, and he has consistently emphasized that all people deserve to be treated with dignity and respect,” she continued.
“You hear that often from this president,” Jean-Pierre added. “The same is true here. And we should listen to Native American and indigenous people who are the most impacted by this.”
Last year, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said that local Native Americans did not find the the name, or the “tomahawk chop” offensive.
“The Braves have done a phenomenal job with the Native American community,” Manfred commented. “The Native American community in that region is wholly supportive of the Braves program, including the chop. And for me that’s kind of the end of the story. In that market, taking into account the Native American community, it works.”
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp chimed in on the controversy after Jean-Pierre’s remarks were shared by the Republican National Committee’s Twitter account.
“The [Braves] should always be the Atlanta Braves,” he tweeted. “Go Braves and Keep Choppin’!”
Georgia Senate candidate Herschel Walker took aim at “woke Washington” when he commented about the situation.
“Georgia will not fall for woke Washington’s attempt to change the name of the greatest baseball team in America,” Walker wrote. “The reigning and future World Series Champs [Atlanta Braves] should NOT change their name.”
Texas Congressman Troy Nehls gave the Biden administration a reality check with his take on the potential name change.
“The White House thinks it’s important to have a conversation about changing the name of the Atlanta Braves,” he posted. “Americans are definitely thinking the same thing when they’re paying 20% more at the grocery store.
The Braves did not comment on Jean-Pierre’s remarks, and instead focused on celebrating rookie pitcher Bryce Elder’s shut out against the Washington Nationals, which resulted in a 8-0 win.