Over the weekend leading up to Indigenous Peoples' Day, a statue of the Chicago Blackhawks' logo outside the team's arena was coated in orange paint and various messages written in spray paint and graffiti.
Below are images posted by a Twitter account with the handle @zhigagoong, a word that refers to the area of land that is now covered by Chicago from the Anishinaabemowin language (via Blackhawks writer Scott Powers).
Another post from the same account shows a video of several of the messages and is captioned "f--- your advisory committee, @chicagosmayor," using the handle of Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot. Messages written in spray paint include "land back," "get Wirtz off board," and "Defund SPD."
A spokesperson from the Blackhawks confirmed the incident to Powers, saying that the incident occurred over the weekend and that it is underneath a tarp before it gets sent off for repairs.
Some sports teams and brands, including the Washington Football Team, the Cleveland Indians, and Land O'Lakes have modified their names, logos and mascots in an attempt to remove offensive or stereotypical Native American images and words. However, the Blackhawks said as recently as July that they plan on keeping their team name, as the team views it as a celebration of Black Hawk's legacy.
“We’re trying to honor the logo and be respectful,” general manager Stan Bowman said (via Tom Withers of the Associated Press). “There’s certainly a fine line between respect and disrespect, and I think we want to do an even better job. I think the most important thing is to be clear that we want to help educate. ... I think we’ve done a good job, but we want to do a better job. And I think we’re committed to that as we go forward.”
The Blackhawks released a statement following the death of George Floyd in concordance with many other organizations throughout the world of sports, though it neglected to mention anything about the team's logo.
Some fans took notice. Heather Miller, the director of the American Indian Center, voiced her thoughts to Powers regarding the team's statement.
“It’s also mind-blowing to me that these sports teams are making statements in support of George Floyd but are still holding near and dear to these racist images,” Miller told Powers. “It’s insane, gross, overtly racist and so tone-deaf that, to me, it just makes their statements complete garbage.”
She views the logo as "something that's pretty offensive" to her and many others, though not everyone shares this sentiment. However, those who defaced the statue depicting the team's logo can certainly be counted among those who would prefer to see the team make a change sooner rather than later.