Love him or hate him, Chief Wahoo is gone.

It’s a done deal. The debate is over. So let’s stop talking about it.

What we ought to be focusing on is this:

What’s next?

The “block C,” which the Cleveland Indians have featured increasingly in recent years, is a snore. It’s nothing more than an ordinary capital letter. And it just as easily could represent Cincinnati or Chicago.

We need something distinctive and unique that also is acceptable to most American Indians. And the best idea I’ve heard for finding a logo that fits that description comes from a writer at That Paper Up North.

Although I don’t make a habit of bragging about our rivals, Plain Dealer columnist Terry Pluto (who spent 22 years at the Beacon Journal before leaving in 2007) has floated an idea that I love.

He says he first floated it two decades ago, when it became obvious to him that Wahoo would not survive in the long run. But my aging brain cells didn’t recall it until this week, when he interviewed team owner Paul Dolan after the news broke that Wahoo’s days on the playing field will be over in 2019.

“For more than 20 years,” he wrote Monday, “I have been suggesting the team hire some top artists from various Indian tribes to submit new logos. Pick several then create a contest where the fans vote for their favorite. ...

“Dolan has never been especially impressed with my idea. As usual, he smiled and sort of shrugged at my suggestion.”

Dolan should take Pluto seriously.

What better way to create a logo than to bring both American Indians and Cleveland baseball fans into the process?

Obviously, not all American Indians think the same way, but the likelihood is high that something coming from a fellow Indian would be respectful and widely palatable.

And while we’re at it, the name “Indians” is not, and has never been, in jeopardy, mainly because there’s nothing derogatory about referring to someone as an Indian. “Indians” isn’t even close to Washington’s football “Redskins.”

In fact, the Associated Press Stylebook says, “American Indian or Native American is acceptable for those in the U.S.”

That widely used reference book goes on to say that, whenever possible, the name of the tribe should be used, as in, “He is a Navajo commissioner.”

Heck, the term “Native Americans” is more controversial than “Indians.” The 1986 AP Stylebook advised journalists to “avoid the use of Native American except in quotations. American Indians migrated to the continent over a land bridge from Asia.”

In any event, it would be wonderful if the team would seek entries from American Indian artists, narrow down the choices and put it up to a vote of the fans.

The team wouldn’t give up control because ownership would be dictating the final three or four choices. Those logos would draw national attention, and the whole process would energize the fans.

And you never know. Maybe a logo change could somehow change the Cleveland Indians’ championship drought of 69 years.

Nothing else has.

Bob Dyer can be reached at 330-996-3580 or bdyer@thebeaconjournal.com. He also is on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bob.dyer.31