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May 19, 2022
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The Cleveland Indians announced on Monday that they will change their team name, according to CNN.
The Major League Baseball team will continue to play as the “Indians” until they determine 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. “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,” Dolan said. 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. 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 change their names. Washington’s NFL team, formerly the Redskins, did away with their name in July and are now the Washington Football Team.
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 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.”
ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR: CONNOR KMIECIK