Ontario’s human rights tribunal is considering hearing a complaint that seeks to bar the Cleveland Indians from being able to use their team name or wear specific logos at major league baseball games played in Toronto.
The complaint was filed last October, at the height of the playoffs, by indigenous activist and architect Douglas Cardinal, who alleged the team’s name and logo amounted to racial discrimination.
Cardinal alleged the team name and the logo of “Chief Wahoo” – a grinning cartoon man with red skin and a feather in his headband – violated both provincial and national human rights legislation.
Major League Baseball, the Cleveland Indians team and Rogers Communications are named in the complaint and fought to have the application quashed on a number of grounds, including lack of jurisdiction.
Adjudicator Jo-Anne Pickel rejected many of the opposing arguments, but did not immediately give the green light for the tribunal to hear the case in full.
She said she wanted more evidence on whether games played at the major league stadium in Toronto can be classified as a service under the Ontario Human Rights Code, as well as a status update on a similar complaint Cardinal filed with the federal human rights commission.