The Toronto Blue Jays and Cleveland Indians will meet in the American League Championship Series starting Friday. Jerry Howarth, the play-by-play announcer for Toronto, will not be using the term “Indians” when describing the opponent.
According to the Toronto Star, Howarth has not been using “Indians” or “Braves” since 1992, when he called the World Series between Toronto and Atlanta. His comments were made on the Jeff Blair radio show. He explained why he stopped after that World Series.
“In the off-season, I received one of the best fan letters I have ever received,” Howarth said.
The listener was a member of a First Nation and politely told Howarth that he found such terms deeply offensive.
“He just wrote it in such a loving, kind way,” Howarth said.
“He touched my heart,” Howarth said.
Howarth said he made his decision to honour that fan and his culture.
“For the rest of my career I will not say ‘Indian’ or ‘Brave’ and if I was in the NFL I would not say ‘Redskins,’” Howarth said, referring to the Washington football team.
The Indians have not caught as much of the attention as the Washington Redskins for their team name, though the use of the Chief Wahoo caricature mascot has led to team protests and even a parody shirt that uses “Caucasians” on the front.