When it comes to creating clever sounding captions for local news segments, sometimes it’s best to err on the side of caution. Obviously, that was not followed by a Fox affiliate in the Bay Area as someone at KTVU put up a graphic reading “Braves Scalped” to report Atlanta’s 13-1 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 5 of the NLDS, including allowing a record 10 runs in the first inning. (Update: They’ve now apologized. See the bottom of this post.)
This also took place on the same day the Braves announced they weren’t going to distribute foam tomahawks and would limit using the “tomahawk chop” chant after Cardinals pitcher and Cherokee Nation member Ryan Helsley viewed the practice as disrespectful.
Man, I can’t believe the kind of stuff they put on TV back in the… OMG THAT’S FROM TONIGHT SERIOUSLY SO BAD. pic.twitter.com/MXUWYVvHIU
— Marc Carig (@MarcCarig) October 10, 2019
There’s a lot to unpack because some would consider the Braves name to be racist in itself, but to combine that with the concept of scalping for a baseball game is at minimum tasteless, and is racist and/or culturally insensitive. A simple “Braves eliminated” graphic could’ve sufficed and probably explained the story better because it would’ve told viewers Atlanta was eliminated from the MLB postseason.
This isn’t KTVU’s first boneheaded mistake that veered into racism. In 2013, in reporting a story of an Asiana plane crash where two people died, the station put up a graphic and read the pilots names which were obviously fake and racist. Granted, the NTSB actually confirmed those names but surely someone at KTVU at the time should’ve had the brains to see those names in print and believe that something wasn’t right.
Update: KTVU apologized for this Thursday:
Wednesday evening, in our 6 p.m. newscast, we had a story about the Atlanta Braves that included a phrase that was racially insensitive toward Native Americans. It was not our intention to offend anyone and we want to express our deepest apologies for the use of that phrase. pic.twitter.com/5mXFeQKi79
— KTVU (@KTVU) October 10, 2019