As a dedicated Braves fan, the decision to rename the Rome team "Emperors" is deeply concerning. It represents more than a mere branding change and signals a troubling shift in values at a time of rising global authoritarianism. The original "Braves" name, embodied courage and defiance, resonated with progressive and resistant spirits and contrasted sharply with the authoritarian and tyrannical connotations of "Emperors." This rebranding is not only a misstep in marketing but also carries profound historical and cultural consequences. It contradicts the Braves' legacy as a symbol of the South's rebellious spirit and could be perceived as disrespectful to Native American communities, whose complex relationship with the Braves' identity is now overshadowed by an image of imperial conquest, undermining the resilience the team once symbolized.
Misalignment with Southern and Native/American Values
The term "Braves" was used by English colonizers to describe Native American warriors who resisted the monarchy’s imperial dominion.
The term "Patriot" was used by English colonizers to describe American warriors who resisted the monarchy’s imperial dominion.
The Braves brand, representing the spirit of Native Americans, Southerners, and the broader American identity, has historically represented an alignment with the archetype of rebels and freedom fighters standing united against oppressive imperialism. This identity resonates deeply with Native American narratives of relentless resistance against colonial forces, embodying their fight for autonomy and cultural preservation. Similarly, it echoes the South's legacy of rebellion and defiance against larger unions, a spirit that is also reflective of the broader American ethos born from a revolution against imperial rule. The Braves symbolize these shared values of liberty, self-determination, and resistance against subjugation. This brand has served as a powerful emblem that encapsulates the collective struggle of these groups, championing the ideals of freedom and standing in opposition to the tyranny and autocracy that they have historically resisted. In this way, the Braves brand has not just been a name for a sports team, but a representation of a deeply rooted, shared identity among diverse American communities, united in their stance against oppressive imperialism.
Following the narrative established by the Braves brand, the decision to rename the team to "Emperors" carries significant and unsettling implications. This change disrupts the deeply entrenched identity of rebellion and freedom that the Braves symbolized, an identity that resonated with the stories of resistance against oppression shared by Native Americans, Southerners, and the broader American populace. By adopting a name associated with imperial rule and autocracy, the new branding stands in stark contrast to the ethos of fighting against subjugation, a core value that has united these diverse communities. This shift from being representatives of defiance and liberty to emblems of the very forces they historically opposed — imperial dominance and authoritarian control — not only contradicts their shared narrative but also risks alienating the very communities that found a piece of their identity reflected in the Braves. The renaming to "Emperors" thus signifies more than just a change in branding; it marks a deep shift away from a legacy that intricately wove together narratives of resilience, cultural preservation, and a collective striving for autonomy and identity. This move potentially alters the longstanding bonds and shared heritage that these diverse communities have celebrated and found solidarity in, under the Braves' emblem.
Impact on Native American Perspective
The rebranding of the Braves to "Emperors" risks severing the ties of support and solidarity that have been fostered, particularly with Native American tribes like the Cherokee. The Cherokee, among other tribes, have historically engaged with the Braves franchise in a complex relationship. While there has been contention, there has also been a level of support, partly due to the Braves' embodiment of a spirit akin to Native American resilience and resistance.
This change to "Emperors" represents a stark departure from these shared values. The new name, symbolizing imperial rule, stands in stark contrast to the Cherokee's own history of resistance against colonial and imperial forces. It could be seen by the Cherokee and other Native American communities as a betrayal of the values that had initially drawn them to support the team. This rebranding could therefore lead to a significant loss of support from these communities, as it shifts away from an identity that reflected aspects of their own struggles and heritage. The Atlanta Braves, by adopting this new identity, may inadvertently alienate the very groups who saw in the team a symbol of their own enduring spirit and history.