The Kansas City Chiefs are the next NFL team that could be subjected to a name change.
Sports teams have recently been retiring Native American names, logos and imagery to promote racial equality. The Washington Football Team emerged last season after being known as the “Redskins” for over 80 years. The MLB’s Cleveland Indians will be dropping their nickname at the end of the 2021 season after already ditching their logo years ago. Now, the spotlight is on the Chiefs.
While the Chiefs have banned headdresses fans from miming the tomahawk chop at home games, the team has said they have no plans to change the name.
Bovada’s odds regarding a possible name change seem to reflect that sentiment. At -900, Bovada has no name change before the 2021 NFL Season as the most likely outcome.
Will The Kansas City Chiefs Change Their Name Before Game 1 Of The 2021 NFL Regular Season
Odds via Bovada as of Tuesday, March 2
- No -900
- Yes +500
Chiefs Sticking With Nickname
Even if the Chiefs wanted to change the team name, these things can take time. On the other hand, it looks like the organization has no intention of moving forward with the process. One of the reasons the NFL won’t make the change is because they have partnered with Native American figures over the years.
“There’s a lot of true equity value in the traditions and the name and the history of the Kansas City Chiefs,” said Chiefs president Mark Donovan in the Kansas City Star. “That’s extremely valuable not only from an economic standpoint, but with the tradition of this team.”
Back in 2018, the Chiefs partnered with the American Indian Center of the Great Plains. The partnership is to help promote diversity and help people learn about Native American traditions. Donovan meets with tribal leaders in the community to discuss potential issues before they reach the national stage.
Native Americans Push Back Against Chiefs, NFL
Back at this year’s Super Bowl, groups of fans and activists were protesting to pressure the Chiefs into changing their name.
Alicia Norris, the co-founder of the Florida Indigenous Rights and Environmental Equality (FIREE), was one of the protestors. She said that Native Americans have already had to deal with genocide in America and sports nicknames like the Chiefs aren’t making it easier.
“When you further dehumanize them and objectify them, it just kind of falls in line with that extinction of who they are,” Norris said.
Crystal Echo Hawk is an executive director of IllumiNative, an organization that promotes Native American history and its people. She told CNN in 2020 that the NFL and other sports teams using her people as mascots or imagery for sports teams takes away their humanity.
“It serves to dehumanize native people,” Echo Hawk said. “They cannot see us as fully-formed, multidimensional human beings.”
From the way it stands, as long as the Chiefs refuse to change their name, fans and activists will continue to protest it. While a name change may happen one day, it probably won’t unless A) the Chiefs have a change of heart or B) the backlash affects their pocketbooks.