In the wake of Cuyahoga County (Ohio) Public Library employees having been prohibited from sporting the Cleveland Indians mascot Chief Wahoo on the job, Ohio Rep. James P. Trakas (R-Independence) introduced a bill May 26 preventing state institutions that ban employees from wearing one sports-team logo from allowing workers to display any. If the bill (which would also extend to public-school students) becomes law, institutions that didn’t enforce compliance would forfeit their state funding.
Trakas announced he would initiate such legislation after CCPL Director John Lonsak initiated the ban out of concern that it is demeaning to Native Americans. CCPL serves Trakas’s constituents.
Noting Supreme Court decisions that it is unconstitutional to regulate the content of speech, Trakas issued a prepared statement that condemned Lonsak’s April 2 directive as “political correctness at its extreme.”
Meantime, the Wahoo ban continues at CCPL. An unidentified library spokesperson told the May 27 Cleveland Plain Dealer, “The staff is accepting the directive, and they continue to serve our customers well.”
Posted May 31, 1999.