October 18, 2016 / 1:08 AM / a year ago

Baseball: Judge rules in favor of Indians in logo lawsuit

TORONTO (Reuters) - A Canadian judge dismissed a late attempt to bar Major League Baseball’s Cleveland Indians from using their controversial logo and team nickname during Monday’s playoff game versus the host Toronto Blue Jays.

Cleveland Indians catcher Roberto Perez (55) high fives first baseman Mike Napoli (26) and relief pitcher Cody Allen (37) after defeating the Toronto Blue Jays in game two of the 2016 ALCS playoff baseball series at Progressive Field. Cleveland won 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The legal challenge by prominent Canadian architect and indigenous activist Douglas Cardinal was heard in a Toronto court hours before the Blue Jays host the Indians in Game Three of their American League Championship series.

Lawyers for Cardinal argued in an Ontario Superior Court of Justice that the Indians nickname and “Chief Wahoo” logo - a smiling cartoon man with red skin and a feather in his headband - are derogatory.

But the judge dismissed the attempt and said he would give his reasons at a later date.

“We are pleased with the judge’s ruling and will continue focusing on an exciting Postseason,” MLB said in a statement.

The Indians are not the only North American professional sports team to come under fire from native groups.

The National Football League’s Washington Redskins and National Hockey League’s Chicago Blackhawks have also been targets of protests and legal challenges over the years.

MLB, which has also faced similar protests over the Atlanta Braves, also said they appreciate the concerns of those that find the Indians name and logo offensive. 

“We would welcome a thoughtful and inclusive dialogue to address these concerns outside the context of litigation,” MLB said in a separate statement prior to the judge’s decision.

“Given the demands for completing the League Championship Series in a timely manner, MLB will defend Cleveland’s right to use their name that has been in existence for more than 100 years.”

While Cardinal went to court to bring attention to his cause others like Jerry Howarth have waged their own protests, the longtime Blue Jays radio play-by-play announcer refusing to refer to Cleveland by their nickname during games.

Cleveland lead the best-of-seven series 2-0.

Editing by Frank Pingue

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