Chiefs retire ‘Warpaint’ horse mascot, critics call move ‘symbolic, hollow’

Kansas City Chiefs

RAYMORE, Mo. — On Monday the Kansas City Chiefs announced the organization will no longer use the horse mascot ‘Warpaint’ during pregame festivities and after touchdowns.

“We just feel like it’s time to retire Warpaint,” said Chiefs President Mark Donova. “A lot of reasons for that, we just feel like it’s the right thing to do.”

Donovan referenced other franchises eliminating Native American mascots and imagery, while pointing out the team has made adjustments in recent years.

“We’ll continue the conversations, we’ll continue to take the path that we’ve taken, as I’ve said educating ourselves, educating our fans.”

Donovan said the franchise has had several productive session with an American Indian working group. Last year, the organization banned fans from wearing face paint and headdresses inside the stadium.

The man who was the first to ride ‘Warpaint’, bareback, said the development was not a surprise, but still made him sad.

“It was a show, we put on a show and that was it,” said Bob Warpaint Johnson, who had his name legally changed to reflect his love for the horse. “I miss it, I miss it.”

While some believed the Chiefs went too far, in retiring ‘Warpaint’, others felt the move represented a half-measure.

“I feel like when there’s a little bit of pressure put on the team, management tries to put a Band-Aid on that,” said Gaylene Crouser, executive director of the Kansas City Indian Center. “And really, what they need to do is rip that Band-Aid off.”

Crouser, a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, believes the franchise should drop all references and imagery related to Native American culture.

“They’re just making these token efforts, in my mind, until things die down,” Crouser said. “And then they can just be full on blatantly racist again.”

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