Cleveland Indians look into changing name amid strain
CLEVELAND (AP) — They’ve been called the Cleveland Indians because 1915. These days could be over.
Amid new pressure triggered by a nationwide movement to correct racial wrongdoings, the Indians said Friday night they will examine their long-debated nickname that has been set for 105 years.
“We are dedicated to creating a positive influence in our area and embrace our responsibility to advance social equality and justice,” the team said in an announcement that came just hours after the NFL’s Washington Redskins announced a similar move. “Our company fully recognizes our team name is one of the most visible ways that we connect with the community.”
The movement mirrors the one made by the Redskins, who are focusing on a”comprehensive review” of their title, that has been deemed as offensive by Native American groups for decades. The Redskins’ decision came in the aftermath of FedEx, which compensated $205 million for naming rights to the group’s arena, and other corporate associates calling for the team to change its nickname.
There have been previous attempts to find the Indians to rename themselves. But after the death of George Floyd at Minnesota and other examples of police brutality against Black people in the U.S., there’s been a major move nationwide to eradicate racially insensitive material.
In 2018, the Indians eliminated the contentious Chief Wahoo logo from their sport jerseys and caps. Red-faced mascot, the grinning, however, is still present on merchandise that could be purchased in Northeast Ohio at Progressive Field and other team stores\.
Nothing has been decided, but the Indians’ decision to at least discuss the possibility of a name change is brand new. The team is sensitive to doing the ideal thing in these shifting times, although there will surely be backlash from some Cleveland fans.
“We have had ongoing talks organizationally on such issues,” the Indians said. “The recent social unrest in our area and our country has just underscored the need for us to keep improving as an organization on issues of social justice. Bearing that in mind, we are committed to engaging our community and appropriate stakeholders to determine the best path forward with regard to our name.”
“While the focus of the baseball world shifts to the delight of an unprecedented 2020 period, we realize our distinctive place in the area and are dedicated to listening, learning, and behaving in the way that can best unite and inspire our town and all those who support our team,” the team said.
Ahead of their named was changed in 1915 to Indians — a nickname picked after sports authors solicited subscribers — Cleveland’s baseball team has been known as the Forest Citys, the Spiders, Blues, Bronchos and Naps, a title to honor Hall of Famer Nap Lajoie.
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