Following the lead of the Washington Football Team (formerly the Washington Redskins), the Major League Baseball team in Cleveland, Ohio, has announced they will change their name from the Indians in the near future.
Critics have long maintained that “Indians” is racially insensitive at best and flat-out racist at worst.
Citing several people familiar with the decision, it is reported that the team is moving away from a name considered racist for decades. According to the report, the organization has been internally discussing a name change for several months.
The team made an announcement on Monday saying, in part, “We believe our organization is at its best when we can unify our community and bring people together—and we believe a new name will allow us to do this more fully,” said club owner Paul Dolan in a statement.
He then added, “While we work to identify a new and enduring franchise name, we will continue using the Indians name.”
In an interview with the Associated Press, the team says they will play as the Indians through 2021 season and the team’s website added, “We will continue to sell selected merchandise featuring our historic names and logos, including Chief Wahoo as a way to acknowledge our history.”
Certain Native American groups have been upset with the team for using the moniker “Indians” for decades. In 2018, the team removed the contentious Chief Wahoo logo from its uniforms, but the smiling, cartoon mascot has remained popular and is still a big seller in sports merchandising.
The Indians dealt with a backlash from fans upset over Wahoo’s removal and the organization is certain to hear more with this new decision as well.
President Trump weighed in on Twitter, joining the chorus of those upset with the apparent “cancel culture” move.
“Oh no,” Trump tweeted. “What is going on? This is not good news, even for ‘Indians’. Cancel culture at work!”
In the last several years, Indians management has consulted players, front office members, coaching staff, community leaders, share holders and Native American groups on the best way to move forward with this culturally sensitive issue.
The team has used the Indians moniker since 1915.