ATLANTA — The Atlanta Braves have heard the complaints and are taking action to “reduce the Tomahawk Chop” for Game 5 of the National League Division Series against the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday.
The decision is a response to recent concerns voiced by Cardinals reliever Ryan Helsley, who is a member of the Cherokee Nation and expressed displeasure with the chop during Games 1 and 2 in Atlanta.
As part of their efforts, the Braves announced they will not distribute foam tomahawks to each seat for Game 5.
“Out of respect for the concerns expressed by Mr. Helsley, we will take several efforts to reduce the Tomahawk Chop during our in-ballpark presentation today,” the Braves said in a statement.
The Braves also announced they will not play the accompanying music to the chant or use any “Chop-related graphics” on their scoreboard when Helsley is in the game.
“As stated earlier, we will continue to evaluate how we activate elements of our brand, as well as the overall in-game experience,” the team’s statement said. “We look forward to a continued dialogue with those in the Native American community after the postseason continues.”
Helsley was informed of the decision by a reporter before batting practice, and he was pleased with the Braves’ proactive stance during the series.
“I think they’re taking the right steps,” said Helsley, who attended Sequoyah High School in Oklahoma. “I think it’s a positive thing. Fans might not like it, but maybe they can reflect back on it and see it was a good move.”
The Cardinals were also pleased that their opponent listened to one of their players and acted.
“It’s nice that the Braves are respectful of everyone involved, especially our player,” Cardinals general manager Mike Girsch said.
Helsley has appeared in two games in the series, striking out three in 1 1/3 innings.