Georgia Republicans blame Atlanta Braves' playoff loss on lack of racist chants

2017

The Atlanta Braves discouraged fans from doing the 'Tomahawk Chop' after a Cherokee Nation member criticized it as insulting — but that is not why they lost.

The Atlanta Braves were eliminated from the Major League Baseball playoffs on Wednesday following a 13-1 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals.

Some Georgia Republicans were quick to blame this defeat not on the Braves pitchers who surrendered 10 runs in the first inning alone, nor on the offense that managed just one run, but on the team not being racist enough.

Earlier in the best-of-five series, a Cardinals player who is a member of Cherokee Nation objected to the Braves' use of the "Tomahawk Chop." Pitcher Ryan Helsley said the tradition, in which fans sing a faux-Native American chant while making a chopping gesture to mimic a tomahawk, was insulting and "a misrepresentation of the Cherokee people or Native Americans in general."

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He was not the first person to object. The chant — originally associated with Florida State University — was adopted by Braves fans back in 1991. At that time, hundreds of Native Americans protested its use and then-owner Ted Turner's then-partner Jane Fonda vowed that she would no longer do it. But 28 years later, it remains a mainstay at Braves home games.

The team announced before Wednesday's game five that they would "reduce the Tomahawk Chop" by not playing the accompanying music when Helsey was in the game and by not distributing foam tomahawks to fans. But as early as the second pitch of the game, fans began doing the chant anyway — just before their team dug itself into an inescapable hole.

Still, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, an array of prominent Georgia Republicans blamed their team's loss on the non-existent Tomahawk Chop "ban."

These included:

State Rep. Trey Kelley 

Former Chief of Staff to Vice President Mike Pence and Georgia political operative Nick Ayers

Atlanta Tea Party co-founder Debbie Dooley

Conservative commentator and former Macon, Georgia city council member Erick Erickson

The 10-run first inning tied a record for the most runs allowed in an inning in a playoff game and set a record for the worst first inning in a playoff.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.