The Kansas City Chiefs are officially saying goodbye to a beloved member of the pregame team ahead of the 2021-22 season. On Monday, president Mark Donavan announced that Warpaint the horse will no longer be a part of gameday festivities due to the Native American imagery of its name and appearance.
The longtime exec explained why to reporters:
“A lot of reasons for that,” Donovan said. “We just feel like it’s the right thing to do. So Warpaint won’t be running at Arrowhead anymore. And we’ll continue the conversations. We’ll continue to take the path that we’ve taken.”
You can read the full statement here and below.
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“We’re going to continue to create opportunities to educate, create awareness and work exactly as we have over the past eight years now with the working group,” a portion of Donavan’s remarks read. “We’ve expanded our working group to get more voices. As I’ve said before, one of the things you find within the American Indian community, which is not unlike any community, is there are divergent views.”
The Warpaint Tradition Began With the Team
A sorrel tobiano mare, Warpaint was born in 1998, but the custom dates back to the Chiefs’ early days of playing at Municipal Stadium. According to 41 Action News, Kansas City went away with the practice in 1989, relying only on mascot K.C. Wolf to get supporters hype ahead of a game.
After 20 years, Warpaint made her triumphant return to mark the Chiefs’ 50-year anniversary as a team. Because of her gifted ability and upbringing around horses, cheerleader Susie Derouchey was a designated choice to manage Warpaint’s reins. Two hours before home matches, the dynamic duo would stand near the Fan Experience for half an hour. Fans could line up and take photos, pet her, and get excited for a fun few hours of football.
Seems like every season the Chiefs are making every effort to do away with perceived notions their team bears discriminatory undertones, which is quite remarkable. Ahead of the 2020 season, a subtle modification to the “Tomahawk Chop” was introduced, reiterating that it’s a “privilege” to pound the ceremonial drum and sing the infamous chant.
“For us, it’s trying to find that balance,” Donovan said in September 2020. “Knowing our fans are going to do this, no matter what we do. If we can change it into the beating of the drum, we think that’s better than the chop.”
Reid: Chiefs and Native American Community Have a Good Relationship
Think of retiring Warpaint and future decisions of this nature as a way to continue strengthening the bond between both the Chiefs and the Native American community
Kansas City head coach Andy Reid opened up about their association Friday after the first day of training camp.
Via 41 Action News: “Reid said the Native American community the team works with is ‘tremendous’ and that team leadership is on top of the matter.”
As long as both sides are working toward a more diverse and open-minded experience, we see nothing wrong with these modifications.