Cleveland MLB team to drop 'Indians' from its name, though not immediately

The Major League Baseball team in Cleveland, Ohio, will drop "Indians" from its name, according to a report from The New York Times and later confirmed by other news outlets.

Posted: Dec 14, 2020 9:13 AM
Updated: Dec 14, 2020 4:45 PM

Major League Baseball's Cleveland Indians announced Monday that the franchise will change the team name but will continue to play as the 'Indians' until the club determines their new branding.

In a team-issued statement, Cleveland's owner and chairman Paul Dolan acknowledged negative feedback received from civic leaders and Native American coalitions, including the Cleveland Indigenous Coalition and the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI).

'Hearing firsthand the stories and experiences of Native American people, we gained a deep understanding of how tribal communities feel about the team name and the detrimental effects it has on them,' he said.

'We also spoke to local civic leaders who represent diverse populations in our city and who highlighted the negative impact our team name has had on our broader population and on under-represented groups across our community.'

Cleveland said the name change process is the first of many steps in their pledged rebranding effort, which 'will take time.' The franchise did not set a timeline for the changes and said the club will continue to use the name Indians during the process.

The decision to change the team name, first reported by The New York Times, comes at a time when America is coming to terms with its racist past. A summer of protesting the deaths of Black people at the hands of police has led professional sports teams, companies and even schools to reconsider branding, imagery and memorabilia based on ethnic stereotypes and caricatures.

Sports teams with names based on Native Americans, including MLB's Indians and Atlanta Braves, and the NFL's Washington Redskins and Kansas City Chiefs, have been facing pressure to reexamine their names as Americans more directly grapple with issues of racism.

Washington's NFL team -- formerly the Redskins -- did away with their name in July and are now the Washington Football Team.

Origin of the Cleveland team name

Change the Mascot, a national grass-roots campaign, applauded Cleveland's move on Monday, saying it shows a growing understanding that Native people should not serve as mascots for sports teams.

'With their commendable decision to alter the team name, Cleveland's team is taking an important step,' Ray Halbritter, an Oneida Nation representative and leader of the Change the Mascot campaign, said in a statement. 'For decades, Native American leaders including the National Congress of American Indians have called on Cleveland to change the name and logo. By finally acting, Cleveland's team is moving the team and professional sports forward down a new path of inclusivity and mutual respect.'

The 'Indians' name dates to 1915, when it was chosen by the team and a group of baseball newspaper writers. Though its exact origin is unclear, the name was partly based on the contemporary success of the Boston Braves, who won the 1914 World Series, as well as on Louis Sockalexis, a former Native American baseball star in Cleveland who died in 1913, according to Cleveland Magazine.

Cleveland removed its 'Chief Wahoo' logo, a racist caricature of a Native American character, from its team uniforms after the 2018 season.

'I think it's time to move forward,' Terry Francona, the manager of Cleveland's baseball team, said in July when discussing the team's name. 'It's a very difficult subject. It's also delicate.'

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 698692

Reported Deaths: 13148
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion953091706
Lake50868931
Allen38607670
Hamilton34028404
St. Joseph33404537
Elkhart26868431
Vanderburgh21948393
Tippecanoe21483212
Johnson17346371
Porter17059297
Hendricks16638309
Clark12600190
Madison12239335
Vigo12109243
Monroe11253166
LaPorte10639204
Delaware10251183
Howard9572211
Kosciusko9009112
Hancock7866139
Bartholomew7807153
Warrick7660155
Floyd7509175
Wayne6849196
Grant6732167
Boone648199
Morgan6341137
Dubois6054117
Marshall5720108
Cass5658102
Dearborn565275
Henry5545100
Noble534983
Jackson489869
Shelby474495
Lawrence4304118
Gibson425788
Harrison425370
Montgomery414686
Clinton413953
DeKalb404183
Huntington373180
Whitley372639
Miami369965
Knox363889
Steuben359657
Putnam350760
Wabash344977
Jasper342246
Adams336852
Ripley332668
Jefferson306779
White306054
Daviess288199
Wells283680
Decatur278092
Fayette276762
Greene268785
Posey267533
Scott258753
Clay250944
LaGrange249670
Randolph233679
Washington228929
Spencer227231
Jennings224347
Fountain207245
Sullivan207241
Starke199452
Owen191056
Fulton189139
Jay184829
Carroll184520
Perry178536
Orange175852
Rush169424
Vermillion165543
Franklin164835
Tipton160743
Parke143516
Blackford132130
Pike129634
Pulaski112445
Newton102434
Brown98940
Crawford96814
Benton94913
Martin82115
Warren78715
Switzerland7688
Union69510
Ohio55411
Unassigned0405

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1039455

Reported Deaths: 18827
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1205361345
Cuyahoga1051802040
Hamilton774991164
Montgomery49566984
Summit44613904
Lucas39235757
Butler37466566
Stark31150890
Lorain23831467
Warren23725291
Mahoning20653581
Lake19760360
Clermont19325226
Delaware17811130
Licking15996205
Fairfield15520195
Trumbull15412458
Medina14693255
Greene14510233
Clark13455287
Wood12575182
Portage12183193
Allen11225229
Richland10924197
Miami10470211
Muskingum8653127
Columbiana8482225
Wayne8463209
Pickaway8394120
Tuscarawas8317239
Marion8302135
Erie7434153
Ross6650145
Hancock6608123
Geauga6462146
Ashtabula6374163
Scioto625699
Belmont5523158
Union551747
Lawrence5439102
Huron5237112
Darke5229121
Jefferson5223147
Sandusky5096118
Seneca5050118
Washington5031107
Athens494854
Auglaize470684
Mercer467984
Shelby453489
Knox4339108
Madison417957
Putnam417698
Ashland409186
Fulton402565
Defiance396396
Brown383955
Crawford3827100
Logan370076
Preble368295
Clinton357459
Ottawa352278
Highland345058
Williams318274
Champaign317355
Jackson305051
Guernsey303448
Perry286949
Fayette276348
Morrow272639
Henry261866
Hardin261163
Coshocton256057
Holmes251799
Van Wert237562
Gallia232146
Pike231031
Adams226251
Wyandot224553
Hocking207057
Carroll187846
Paulding167638
Meigs140938
Noble131837
Monroe128541
Morgan105822
Harrison104836
Vinton81013
Unassigned01
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