The Kansas City Chiefs will no longer allow fans at games to engage in activities that appropriate Native American cultures, including wearing potentially offensive costumes.
The Chiefs said they began working with a group of “local leaders from diverse American Indian backgrounds and experiences” in 2014 with the goal of understanding the issues they face and finding opportunities to raise awareness for, and celebrate, their cultures.
Those discussions initially led the team to discourage fans from wearing ceremonial headdresses and themed face paint in their stadium, but now, the team is taking it a step further.
Effective immediately, fans wearing headdresses will be prohibited from entering Arrowhead Stadium, as well as any wearing face paint styled in an culturally appropriative way.
The team also says it is “engaged in a thorough review” of the Arrowhead Chop, a celebration motion used by many fans.
The team also says it is “exploring all options” for ways to modify its Drum Deck to better represent the significance of the drum in Native American cultures, and is looking into creating a formal education program for fans.
“We are grateful for the meaningful conversations we have had with all of these American Indian leaders,” the Chiefs said in a statement. “It is important that we continue the dialogue on these significant topics, and we look forward to continuing to work together in the future.”
The Chiefs’ moves come amid a years-long reckoning in sports with mascots that are offensive or culturally appropriative.
The Cleveland Indians stopped using their “Chief Wahoo” logo in 2018 and are considering changing their name.
The Washington Football Team dropped its longtime logo and nicknames, a racist slur towards Native Americans, over the offseason.