KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Kansas City Chiefs home game staple will no longer take the field at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium.
Chiefs President Mark Donovan announced the retirement of Warpaint, the sorrel tobiano mare seen at the beginning of every home game and whenever the Chiefs find the end zone.
“We just feel like it’s time to retire Warpint. Lot of reasons for that, but we just feel like it’s the right thing to do. So Warpaint won’t be running at Arrowhead anymore,” Donovan said. “We’ll continue to have the conversations. We’ll continue to take the path that we’ve taken. Educating ourselves, educating our fans, creating opportunities to raise awareness.”
The decision comes days after the MLB franchise in Cleveland changed their name from the Indians to the Guardians, part of an ever-growing conversation about the use of Native American imagery in sports.
“We have a really good American Indian working group that provides us real guidance and feedback, perspective on this issue. Obviously, we knew about the Cleveland decision a year-plus ago, so we know this was going to happen,” Donovan said.
Donovan added that divergent views exist within the working group, but it has helped the organization educate themselves, fans and community.
“We made some significant changes last year, which we are proud of and we believe were the right things to do,” Donovan said.
Another staple has come up in discussions with the working group in regards to the drum that sounds to start every home game.
“It’s a really strong point of pride for them. If you even have the conversation, ‘Should we think about removing the drum or doing something different?’ they get pretty emotional about what it is,” Donovan said. “We took the right steps, which they guided us on, to bless the drum, treat it in a respectful way and to use that opportunity to educate people as to what the drum really means in their culture.”