Kansas City Chiefs Ban Headdresses


“Kansas City Chiefs” by araizavictor is licensed with CC BY-NC 2.0.

Gage Mills

As of Aug. 20, the Kansas City Chiefs have banned the wearing of headdresses at their stadium. This development has come only a month after Washington D.C.’s NFL affiliation, formerly known as the Redskins, decided to finally change their name in an effort to become more politically correct. 

   The Chiefs’ front office has held talks with local Native American leaders since 2014 in order to put an end to cultural appropriation within the organization and its fans, and after six years, concrete steps have finally taken place. 

   “As an organization, our goal was to gain a better understanding of the issues facing American Indian communities in our region and explore opportunities to both raise awareness of American Indian cultures and celebrate the rich traditions of tribes with a historic connection to the Kansas City area,” the team said in their official statement on their website and social media.

   Many members of Native American tribes are happy to see this progress being made. When asked about how he felt about the headdresses and attire he saw at Chiefs games on NewsOn6, Archie Mason, a member of both the Cherokee and Osage Nations, stated that “The attire that I see sometimes at some of the football games, it offends me, and it has not only to me, but to I’m sure some of my other Native American relatives and friends.” 

   They are currently reviewing other traditions, including the famous “Arrowhead Chop,” where fans move their arms in a chopping motion accompanied by a made-up war cry. This tradition is not exclusive to Kansas City, as other professional and collegiate sports teams have their own takes on it, including the Atlanta Braves and Florida State University. 

   Both of these organizations have been debating this tradition as well: “As it relates to the fan experience, including the chop, it is one of the many issues that we are working through with the advisory group, […] We are continuing to listen to the Native American community, as well as our fans, players, and alumni to ensure we are making an informed decision on this part of our fan experience,” the team said in a statement on their website.

   In addition to the Chiefs, other professional sports teams have begun taking steps towards changing their public image. These include the Chicago Blackhawks, Chicago’s NHL affiliate, and the Cleveland Indians, Cleveland’s MLB affiliate, who recently dropped their mascot “Chief Wahoo” and are under review regarding their team name.

   The Chiefs plan to begin their season this Thursday, Sep. 10, at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, admitting 22% of fans in, where these changes will go into full effect immediately. In order to enforce this, they will not be admitting fans wearing headdresses.