St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Ryan Helsley’s comments about the “disrespectful” Tomahawk Chop have resulted in an immediate change from the Atlanta Braves.
As first reported by Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Braves will not distribute their famous foam tomahawks for the decisive Game 5 of the NLDS on Wednesday.
In a statement, the organization also stated that the chant music and graphics will not be used while Helsley is pitching.
No foam tomahawks at tonight’s game, and some changes to the in-game chop program in response to concerns raised by Cardinals’ Ryan Helsley after Game 1. Statement from the Braves to Yahoo Sports: pic.twitter.com/90NMuEjwje
— Jay Busbee (@jaybusbee) October 9, 2019
Two ballpark officials confirmed that the changes were a direct response to Helsley’s comments. The Cardinals pitcher, whose mother is full-blooded Cherokee, felt the chants “devalue” Native American history and heritage.
The Braves initially responded to Helsley’s comments by stating they would evaluate the chop after the season. They ultimately didn’t even wait to get rid of the famous foam tomahawks that have been closely identified with the team and chant for nearly three decades. It doesn’t sound like the chant itself will be entirely eliminated, and there’s nothing stopping fans from making the movements with their hands when it is done, but it’s certainly a huge change before a pivotal playoff game.