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Loeffler, Perdue defend Atlanta Braves name - though team had no plans to change it

The team previously announced their talks with the Eastern Band of the Cherokee and that they had no intention of changing their name.

ATLANTA — Georgia's U.S. senators have come out in defense of the Atlanta Braves after another team, the Cleveland Indians, dropped their Native American moniker on Sunday.

But the news comes months after the team, which had been in talks with a Native American tribe, told fans they weren't going to change it in the first place.

Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, now less than a month out for runoff elections for their seats, announced in a joint statement that they "adamantly oppose any effort to rename the Atlanta Braves."

The senators went on to speak of the team as an "American Institution" with 54 years of history in Atlanta that celebrated the lives of Native Americans.

"Under no circumstances should one of the most celebrated teams in sports cave to the demands of the cancel culture and the radical left," the statement concluded.

But it's unclear what calls to condemn the team name the senators were addressing.

While the team has come under fire before - mainly for the "Tomahawk Chop" - no major push to rename the team itself had been considered in months.

In fact, in a letter to fans in July, the Braves organization made clear it had no intention of changing its name. It also announced a discussion and partnership with the Eastern Band of the Cherokee out of North Carolina.

"Through our conversations, changing the name of the Braves is not under consideration or deemed necessary," the organization's letter said. "We have great respect and reverence for our name and the Native American communities that have held meaningful relationships with us do as well."

The Braves also vowed, at the time, to start new or continue practices to Native American culture saying, in part:

"Activations include a permanent exhibit inside the ballpark honoring Native Americans, designing merchandise and other ways to support Indigenous language and partnering with Native American content producers to showcase the positive impacts Native American tribes and rival leaders have had on our history and the community."

The team revisited that partnership in a tweet on Thursday with an announcement that they would produce a Syllabary t-shirt "to help bring awareness to the native language."

Proceeds will go to the New Kituwah Academy and the Cherokee Speaker's Council.

Still, some parts of the Braves' traditions may see a change in the future.

"The chop was popularized by our fans when Deion Sanders joined our team and it continues to inspire our players on the field," the letter stated. 

With that in mind, the Braves head office said it was continuing to listen to the Native American community.


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