Jays face off against Cleveland again after court rejects legal challenge
By: Lindsay Wadden and Katherine Aylesworth
Going into Tuesday’s do-or-die game, there is no resolution for fans unhappy with the Cleveland Indians team name and logo.
The game starts at 4:08 p.m. in Toronto’s Rogers Centre.
The Toronto Blue Jays are down three games in the American League Championship Series. Cleveland is just one win away from sweeping the series and advancing to the World Series.
Facing elimination, the Jays will turn to starting pitcher Aaron Sanchez in their best-of-seven American League Championship Series.
On Monday, Justice Thomas McEwen dismissed an effort to ban the Cleveland Indians from using their full team name and logo, just hours before the Jays 4-2 loss.
Indgenous activist, Douglas Cardinal, launched the legal challenge arguing that the name and logo amounted to “racial discrimination” in violation of Ontario’s Human Rights code and the Canadian Human Rights Act.
Cardinal’s application called for Rogers Communication and MLB to stop broadcasting images of the logo and to refrain them from using “Indians” when referring to the team.
Outside the courthouse, Michael Swinwood, a lawyer for Cardinal said this was not at loss.
“We look at it this way … we believe that the awareness around this issue has now been elevated.”
Cardinal said in a statement Monday evening that he was “deeply disappointed” by the court’s ruling.
“I hope that, one day, the Cleveland team’s ownership will realize that its racist name and logo has got to go – entirely,” he said.
Joe Pimlott, the Executive Director of the Aboriginal Friendship Centre of Calgary told Humber News we need to be more respectful.
“At this day and age we need to be more respectful of all people’s ethnicity and not capitalize financially on one organization or demographic in a negative context.”
He said this may be a money issue more than a moral issue.
“They have so much money invested and that is probably the direction they are looking at. It has nothing to do with the aboriginal people that they are hurting. I think it really boils down to money,” Pimlott said.
Stevie Bingham, a Ryerson student said that if this was such an issue, the name and logo should have been banned a long time ago.
“There is a huge history of discrimination against first nation people and I understand why some people would feel it’s degrading but Cleveland’s team has been called the Indians since the Blue Jays organization started so it doesn’t make sense why now is the time to try and ban both the logo and name.”
Lawyers for Rogers, Major League Baseball and the Cleveland Indians argued in court that any injunction would cause issues with such little time in between the hearing and the game.
The lawyer for the Cleveland Indians, Jonathon Lisus, called the injunction nothing more than “censorship,” and what was being asked is “absurd and without precedent.”
Cardinals lawyer, Monique Jileson, argued that the use of the name and the logo is “taking a culture and belittling it, using it for commercial purposes and potentially inciting racism.”
“There would be no debate that you could not call a team the New York Jews,” said Jileson.
Kent Thomson, a lawyer for Rogers noted that Cardinal was in China where Rogers does not broadcast, calling it “nothing short of remarkable.”
McEwen has yet to disclose the details of his decision to dismiss the application.