MLB commissioner says he hasn’t had talks with Braves on tomahawk chop yet

MLB commissioner says he hasn’t had talks with Braves on tomahawk chop yet
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred takes questions about the Houston Astros while holding his press conference during the “Florida Governor’s Dinner” kicking off spring training at the Atlanta Braves CoolToday Park on Sunday, Feb. 16, 2020, in North Port. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com (Curtis Compton)

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred fielded questions at the Braves facility Sunday afternoon as spring training got underway in Florida.

Most of Manfred’s news conference focused on the Houston Astros sign-stealing investigation. The 2017 World Series champions’ scandal has rocked the sport.

However, Manfred addressed other issues, too -- including the Atlanta Braves’ use of the tomahawk chop in 2020.

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Channel 2 Sports Director Zach Klein asked the commissioner if he and the Braves had spoken about the chop during the offseason.

“With all that has been going on, I can honestly say I haven’t had a conversation with the Braves about the Tomahawk Chop," Manfred said. “I understand it is an issue, but there has been simply too much going on. I haven’t gotten around to it.”

Sports Director Zach Klein will bring live coverage of Braves spring training from Florida all week on Channel 2 Action News.

The debate over the Braves’ tomahawk chop picked up during the National League Division Series with the St. Louis Cardinals.

St. Louis pitcher Ryan Helsley told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch he found the tomahawk chop “disrespectful” to his Cherokee heritage. Cherokee and Creek tribal chiefs backed up his stance.

Following Helsley’s comments, the Braves did not hand out foam tomahawks during Game 5 of the NLDS.

“As stated earlier, we will continue to evaluate how we activate elements of our brand, as well as the overall in-game experience. We look forward to a continued dialogue with those in the Native American community after the postseason concludes," the Braves previously said in a statement in October.

Manfred said he understands it happens at other places and wants to look at how things are regulated.

“Across sports, we have seen different communities with different levels of tolerance on particular issues,” he said.

“We need to think through how closely we want to regulate what goes on in particular communities and particular ballparks. On the other hand, I certainly understand the sensitivity on this issue. I have been proactive in terms of Native American concerns in respect to the Indians logo. It’s something that will remain a topic of conversation,” he said.