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As Redskins Change Team Name, Atlanta Braves Fans Weigh In

In this Oct. 28, 1995, file photo, Atlanta Braves outfielder David Justice waves to the crowd after the Braves defeated the Cleveland Indians in Game Six of the World Series.
In this Oct. 28, 1995, file photo, Atlanta Braves outfielder David Justice waves to the crowd after the Braves defeated the Cleveland Indians in Game Six of the World Series.

The Washington Redskins on Monday announced the NFL franchise was retiring the team's controversial nickname following a review process that started several weeks ago.

"As part of this process, we want to keep our sponsors, fans and community apprised of our thinking as we go forward," the football team said in a statement. "Today, we are announcing we will be retiring the Redskins name and logo upon completion of this review."

Other sports teams around the country whose names are derived from Native American tropes have come under renewed scrutiny this year as Americans continue to reflect on racial issues within the country in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement. 

For fans of the Atlanta Braves, the discussion around the team's name isn't new. But more fans are beginning to realize the conversation has become something more inevitable.

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The team was first called the Braves before the start of the 1912 baseball season when the team was still based in Boston. The team's owner, John Ward, was part of the New York political society Tammany Hall, which used a Native American chief as a mascot.

Cole Robertson is a Braves fan who lives within walking distance of Truist Park and believes the conversation is reflective of changing times.

"As a Braves fan, the name is so ingrained into my mind that it would be hard to see the name change," he said. "Would I be 100% against it? No. I don’t think the name is as egregious as the Redskins or the Cleveland Indians, but as the world is changing, companies need to reevaluate their images."

For fans like Tanyel Aviles of Kennesaw, growing up in the 1990s with the Braves was a part of her childhood.

"I thought the Braves were the best team to ever live. I just grew up with it," Aviles said. "So, I’m a bit nostalgically attached to the name, but times change and maybe this needs to change, too."

Aviles said she doesn't equate the Braves' name with that other teams like the Redskins or the Kansas City Chiefs.

"I think we’re much less offensive than some other teams out there," she said. "However, I also don’t think that’s my decision to make. Just because I’m not offended doesn’t mean the Native American community isn’t or wouldn’t be."

McDonough resident Kacey Johnson believes now is the time to bring in Native American voices into the conversation.

"I think the most important thing is finally banning the Tomahawk Chop for good, and then having as much open dialogue with the Native American community as possible regarding the name," he said.

In a letter released by the Braves today, the team said that a name change is not in the plans.

"Through our conversations, changing the name of the Braves is not under consideration or deemed necessary," team chairman Terry McGuirk and president Derek Schiller wrote. "We have great respect and reverence for our name and the Native American communities that have held meaningful relationships with us do as well. We will always be the Atlanta Braves."

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