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  • Writer's pictureClaudio Fibonacci

The Controversy Continues: Why Haven’t the Kansas City Chiefs Changed Their Name?

The Ongoing Debate Around the Kansas City Chiefs’ Name


The Ongoing Debate Around the Kansas City Chiefs’ Name

As the Kansas City Chiefs gear up for Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas, a longstanding question resurfaces with renewed vigor: Why has the team not reconsidered its name?

Understanding the Historical Context

The name “Chiefs” traces back to Harold Roe Bartle, a former mayor of Kansas City, who played a pivotal role in relocating the Dallas Texans to Kansas City. Despite Bartle’s non-Indigenous background, the team’s identity has since been intertwined with Indigenous imagery, raising concerns around cultural appropriation and stereotyping.

Efforts Towards Sensitivity and Inclusivity

Recent years have seen the Chiefs attempt to address these concerns:

  1. Engagement with the American Indian Community Working Group to refine game-day protocols.

  2. Banning costume headdresses at Arrowhead Stadium.

  3. Introduction of a ceremonial blessing of the drum at home games.

Continuing Controversy

Despite these efforts, many argue that the name itself, alongside associated practices, continues to harm the social identity and self-esteem of Indigenous communities. The broader national conversation around racial sensitivity and representation fuels these arguments, pushing for a reevaluation of the team’s identity.

The Cost of Change

Renaming a major sports franchise involves significant logistical and financial challenges. From updating merchandise and marketing materials to rebranding team assets, the process is daunting yet deemed necessary by many.

A Path Forward

As societal awareness grows and the push for more respectful representations of Indigenous cultures gains traction, the pressure on the Kansas City Chiefs to reconsider their name only intensifies. The upcoming Super Bowl presents an opportunity for increased visibility and, potentially, for renewed discussions on this critical issue.

The suggestion to rename the team the “Kansas City Swifts” underscores a broader desire for change and inclusivity in the sports world. It remains to be seen how the Chiefs will navigate these complex waters, but one thing is clear: the conversation is far from over.

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