Republican Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue have a message for Georgia baseball fans: Go, Braves.
The Georgia senators said the Atlanta Braves should keep its century-old nickname, declaring that it “honors our nation’s Native American heritage,” and urged the team not to “cave to the demands of the cancel culture and the radical left.”
“We adamantly oppose any effort to rename the Atlanta Braves, one of our states most storied and successful sports franchises,” said the Republican senators in a Monday statement. “Not only are the Braves a Georgia institution—they’re an American institution.”
Their message came after word leaked Sunday that the Cleveland Indians, another Major League Baseball team with a Native American nickname, plan to drop “Indians” and replace it for the 2022 season.
The Georgia Republicans are locked in tight races in the Jan. 5 double run-off election. Ms. Loeffler is being challenged by the Rev. Raphael Warnock, a Democrat, while Mr. Perdue faces Democrat Jon Ossoff.
Georgia Republican Party spokeswoman Abigail Sigler on Wednesday challenged the Democrats to take a stand on the issue.
“Jon Ossoff and Radical Raphael Warnock should tell Georgians where they stand on renaming the Atlanta Braves; they either think the Braves should be renamed or they don’t,” said Ms. Sigler in a statement. “Their silence is just another reminder they are purely politically motivated, and Georgians cannot trust them. If Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock can’t answer a simple question about a baseball team, they certainly can’t answer tough questions.”
The team has said it plans to keep the Atlanta Braves name as franchises with Native American nicknames come under pressure to change them.
“We are so proud of our team’s name, and our expectation is that we will always be the Atlanta Braves,” Terry McGuirk, the Braves’ chairman, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Monday.
A Trafalgar Group poll released Sunday found that 71.8% of voters disagreed with dropping the Atlanta Braves nickname, while 19.7% agreed and 8.5% were undecided.
More than 90% of voters who planned to support Ms. Loeffler and Mr. Perdue opposed a name change, according to RealClearPolitics.
After years of protests, the NFL’s Washington Redskins dropped in July its 87-year-old nickname, renaming the franchise temporarily the Washington Football Team.