Cricket club needs to look forward and leave the logo behind

by Pete Mazzaccaro
Posted 12/9/20

The Philadelphia Cricket Club moved on Friday after Thanksgiving to remove its controversial Native American logo from the entrances of its cricket clubs in both Chestnut Hill and Flourtown.

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Cricket club needs to look forward and leave the logo behind

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The Philadelphia Cricket Club moved on Friday after Thanksgiving to remove its controversial Native American logo from the entrances of its cricket clubs in both Chestnut Hill and Flourtown.

The club’s Board of Governors called the move a compromise in a letter to its members. It was clearly aimed to bridge divisions among those members who have split over its use. “[A]ction is necessary to seek a middle ground in an effort to unify our Membership and respect our history,” the letter read.

The controversy first blossomed this year after nearly 200 members of the club signed a petition calling for the logo’s removal. 

“The logo is an example of long-ago discredited ideas of ‘noble savagery’ that helped justify the removal and extermination of native peoples,” that letter stated. “Keeping the logo serves as a regressive and inflammatory choice of its own.”

While some of the people who signed that letter are somewhat satisfied with the club’s decision to remove the most public-facing instances of that logo, the insistence on keeping it at all does not address the complaints of those who made them. The club said it would continue to sell merchandise with the logo to members. The logo remains on the club’s website, though it may well be one of the promised parts of the phasing out the club said it will do in the coming weeks and months. Some have told the Local it’s not enough.

It’s easy to appreciate the hard place in which the club found itself. The logo dates back to 1900. As a work of design, it’s quite nice: a classic, simple and easily recognizable image of which many of the club’s members are both familiar and fond. And I can guarantee that the passion of those who called for its removal was matched by those in the club who wanted to keep it. There weren’t many options for the board to keep all of its constituents happy.

It’s also worth noting that some of the steps the club promises to take to educate its members about Native American history and to raise money for programs that help Native Americans get into and pay for college are admirable.

Hopefully, though, public removal of the logo is not the last step. While it’s true that the logo has a long history, and I don’t believe it was ever intended to be demeaning or inflammatory, the fact is that the logo is indeed an anachronism, one in which a people could be reduced to a mascot. As civilized people, we learn and do things differently, not simply because of some politically correct orthodoxy, but because we realize that the way we used to think about something today really is old fashioned. We change and move forward.

I think a new logo for the club is a matter of when, not if. The club has taken a first step but it should not drag its heels to go further. Now is the time to look forward and leave not only the controversy of the old logo behind but its naivete.

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