Bravest ATL is a baseball fan club on a mission to show how Atlanta’s team can honor the past, unite fans, and support the Brave men and women who keep us safe by adding just one letter to its name. Atlanta’s Bravest—its firefighters—deserve a team that fights for them on the field and fans who cheer for them in the stands.
Sales from our gear will go toward ticket giveaways to First Responders, and when games open up to the public, we plan to organize a cheering section for The Bravest at home and away games where fans can show their support for the team and our firefighters. In the meantime, proceeds from merchandise sales will support firefighters as they continue working to keep us safe. Follow us on social media for the latest updates.
Bravest ATL was founded by brothers Marty and Chris Buccafusco, two lifelong fans who grew up in Augusta, Georgia loving Atlanta’s baseball team, but not its name. This idea grew out of a conversation with Paul Lukas, of Uni Watch, about how to reinterpret the team’s existing imagery to represent a less divisive concept and carry it into the future. Chris and Marty are joined by Dr. Natalie Welch, an enrolled member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and an expert on Native American athletes and Cherokee stickball. Natalie holds a doctorate and a bachelor’s degree in Sport Management from the University of Tennessee, as well as an MBA and a Master’s in Sport Business Management from the University of Central Florida.
Q: What’s wrong with the current team name?
A: Let’s face it. A name that at one point inspired fans is now turning us against each other. Sports teams with names and traditions rooted in Native American history are being asked to reconsider, and many are realizing it’s time to make a change. Baseball is supposed to unite fans around the love of the game; until Atlanta makes a change, our team will be making headlines for all the wrong reasons.
Q: OK, so why “Bravest”? Why firefighters?
A: Atlanta is "America's Team" and it needs a name that all Americans can stand behind! What could be better than one that honors the heroes who keep us all safe?
In addition, firefighters and fire are an important testament to the strength of Atlanta’s community. In 1864, General Sherman gave the order to burn nearly 40 percent of the city during his “March to the Sea.” Atlanta recovered and rebuilt. Fifty years later, the Great Atlanta Fire of 1917 displaced 10,000 people and caused an estimated $100 million in damage. The city recovered and rebuilt again. Like our home team, firefighters represent Atlanta’s determination, grit, and ability to overcome whatever stands in our way.
Q: My Native American friend said “Braves” isn’t even that bad. Why are we going out of our way to be politically correct?
A: No group in the world has members who all think the same way. (That’s sort of what the United States was founded on.) And that’s OK! But the fact that your friend feels that way doesn’t change the fact that a large chunk of Atlanta fans don’t support the name, and that divide is only going to increase. The team could erase this problem with a very simple update that helps fans rally around firefighters, who support all of us and never get their own cheering section.
If you’re really interested in reading about the history of Native American iconography in sports, there are a ton of Native American voices out there talking about this. Here’s one place to start.
Q: What about the team’s traditions—the logo, the chants, the gear?
A: One of the cool things about “Bravest” is that it bridges the team's past with its future. Here’s a quick breakdown:
Colors: They stay the same! Red, white, and blue are pretty spot-on for firefighters.
Logo: The tomahawk, designed to convey strength, gets replaced with a firefighter’s axe—similar style but new message and new meaning.
Tomahawk chop and cheer: This one just has to go. Fortunately, there are so many options to replace it with something that references the powerful work firefighters do every day. Send us your ideas!
Gear: A perfect mix of old and new. The lettering stays the same (just add that extra t) but think of the opportunities: helmets, uniforms, hoses that drench the other team…there’s so much to work with.
Q: Have you talked to any Native Americans about this idea?
A: Sure have! As mentioned above, Native Americans are not a monolith, and undoubtedly there will be valid arguments for and against Bravest. We welcome dialogue with all fans about Atlanta's future. Please be in touch via email or social media if you'd like to share ideas.
Q: You’ve convinced me. How can I show my support for the Bravest?
A: You can start by following Bravest ATL on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. You can buy our gear (all proceeds will go toward giving free tickets to games for firefighters and First Responders) and wear it proudly. You can spread the word among family, friends, and social media, and help us keep this conversation going. If you have a great idea for our movement or would like to work with us, get in touch with us by emailing bravestATL@gmail.com.