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Governor backs Braves name after topic comes up at WH press briefing

WH Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said "Native American and Indigenous voices... should be at the center of this conversation" when asked about the Braves name.

ATLANTA — The question of whether the Atlanta Braves should or ever would change their name came up again Monday as the team visited the White House to celebrate their 2021 World Series win.

It prompted Gov. Brian Kemp to voice his support for the team name, which has seen more calls for change in recent years as teams such as baseball's Cleveland Guardians and football's Washington Commanders have dropped Native American-themed names and imagery. 

RELATED: Atlanta Braves visit White House to celebrate 2021 World Series title

At the White House press briefing, Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was questioned about the team name as the Braves visited the White House and President Joe Biden. She responded by saying Native American and Indigenous voices "should be at the center of this conversation" and that it is "important to have this conversation."

Her full response was: "Look, we believe that it's important to have this conversation, you know, and Native American and Indigenous voices, they should be at the center of this conversation. That is something that the president believes, that is something that this administration believes, and he has consistently emphasized that all people deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. You hear that often from this president. The same is true here and we should listen to Native American and Indigenous people who are the most impacted by this."

The governor, in response, wrote on Twitter: "The @Braves should always be the Atlanta Braves. Go Braves and Keep Choppin!"

The latter part of Kemp's statement referencing "Keep Choppin!" was a nod to both a campaign slogan he frequently uses and to the "Tomahawk Chop," which has historically faced more scrutiny and outcry than the team name.

RELATED: Has the Atlanta Braves Tomahawk Chop movement officially struck out?

Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker also jumped on the issue, saying in a statement the Braves "should keep their name and it would be ridiculous to change it" and that any discussion of renaming the team is a "sideshow" and "woke distraction."

The Braves at one point had said they would scale back the Tomahawk Chop - after a negative reaction by an opposing pitcher in 2019 - though by last year's World Series run it was again a regular feature at games. That has been the case continuing into this season.

The team has never indicated it would seriously consider changing the name.


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