Cleveland Indians’ move to shed nickname


Cleveland Indians confirm name change plans Image: Cleveland Indians & wkyc

The process to shed its team nickname has been formally initiated by Major League Baseball’s Cleveland Indians (US) as the same has been widely deemed as racist. But it will be almost a year, at minimum, before the team gets a new identity and the same is implemented.

The Cleveland Indians are an American professional baseball team based in Cleveland, Ohio (US). The Indians compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the American League Central division. Since 1994, they have played at Progressive Field (a baseball park located in the downtown area of Cleveland, Ohio, United States).

Major League Baseball (MLB) is an American professional baseball organization and the oldest of the major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada. A total of 30 teams play in Major League Baseball: 15 teams in the National League and 15 in the American League.

Confirming widespread expectations, Indians owner Paul Dolan said the decision to make the shift followed extensive discussions with numerous stakeholders, notably the Native American groups. The decision comes after the Indians have used that name for 105 years, but in recent years have led to widespread protest and debate.

“Ultimately, we found our organization is at our best when we can unify our community and bring people together around our shared interest in our home team – and we believe a new name will allow us to do this more fully,” Dolan asserted.

Dolan, however, termed the decision to change the nickname as only the first of a multiphase process, one like other team rebranding will ultimately involve a multitude of marketing, sponsorship, licensing, and retail considerations at both the franchise and league level. But unlike the National Football League’s (NFL’s) Washington Football team, there will not be a move in Cleveland to employ some type of interim identity.

Consequently, the ‘Indians’ nickname will remain in place for at least the entire 2021 season, and until a decision is reached on a new team moniker.

Added Dolan, “Future decisions, including the new name and brand development, are complex and will take time. We believe our new name will take us into the future and proudly represent this storied franchise for decades and generations to come. In light of the importance, we will not rush these decisions. As we take the necessary time to determine a new name and brand, the team will continue using the ‘Indians’ name and branding.”

Similar nicknames such as the ‘Tribe’ or other Native American-themed monikers will not be part of the club’s new identity. And as the club continues to sell some select merchandise that still bears the club’s former Chief Wahoo logo, proceeds from those sales will be donated to causes supporting the Native American community.

‘The Spiders’, the name of a defunct Cleveland baseball team from the late 1800s, current leads odds for the club’s new nickname on several different sportsbooks.

Stated Dolan, “As a fifth-generation Clevelander, I understand the historic impact and importance of this decision. Like many of you, I grew up with this name and have many great memories of past Indians teams: The World Series appearances, Cy Young winners, the longest win streak in MLB history, and countless unforgettable moments that brought our teams, fans, and community together. These memories will forever stay in our hearts, minds, and record books, and we will continue to recognize our ball club’s remarkable legacy. While I have often associated these unforgettable memories with the name Indians, I sincerely believe Cleveland is the most important part of our team name.”

The National Congress of American Indians, a 76-year-old group that is the largest, oldest, and most representative group serving the interests of American Indians and Alaska Natives, hailed the Indians’ move.

“The genuine commitment the team has made to listen to and learn from Indian Country over the past several months is to be applauded, and the process the team used should serve as a blueprint for sports teams and schools across the nation as this movement for racial justice and inclusion continues to grow,” said Fawn Sharp, National Congress of American Indians President.

It is no longer ‘what’s in a name’ either for the Cleveland Indians or the NFL’s Washington Football team as the latter’s Washington Redskins name also generated a lot of controversy over being racist and ditto for the Cleveland Indians. So, a name does matter a lot.

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