The Cleveland Indians plan to drop the nickname they have used for more than a century and become the newest professional sports franchise to ditch its Native American imagery on charges of racist use. Two sources familiar with the decision that ESPN confirmed.
The organization is expected to announce the change this week, sources said, and continued a year-long process of ditching its Chief Wahoo logo and also researching a new nickname.
The New York Times first reported on the decision.
Cleveland hasn’t decided on a new nickname, and it is unclear whether the team will drop the nickname immediately or switch to a new one after the 2021 season.
Following the decision of the NFL’s Washington-based franchise to drop its nickname and ultimately rename itself the Washington Football Team, Cleveland announced it would undertake a thorough review of the Indians’ name, which it adopted in 1915. Previously, the Cleveland team was named Nap after Nap Lajoie, their star player and manager.
The Indians have played more than 17,000 games with the nickname and won two World Series – the last came in 1948. Their 72-year drought in the championship is the longest in baseball.
Protests outside of Cleveland’s Progressive Field have been relatively frequent, as have local fans with an affinity for the nickname that counteracts the objection. The organization’s decision to replace Chief Wahoo’s hats with Block C hats was seen as a positive first step, but the outcry against the name continued, forcing owner Paul Dolan to consider giving up the name altogether.
Dolan vowed to meet with Indian groups and assess their thoughts. There was also pressure from Major League Baseball viewing the Indians’ name as a long-term non-starter, sources said.
“This is the culmination of decades of work,” the Oneida Nation of New York, who led the Change the Mascot movement, told ESPN in a statement. “Groups like the National Congress of American Indians have passed resolutions on this for decades. Social science has made it clear that these names are harmful, and Cleveland has stood up to them and guided them, and instead of letting this hang over their heads, they have it done. ” I go a new way. “
President Donald Trump tweeted in response to the imminent name change, called “culture break at work!” referred to as.
The MLB’s Atlanta Braves, the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs, and the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks are the other prominent professional franchises that use Native American imagery in their names and logos.
Whatever the Cleveland franchise chooses as a new name – among those proposed in recent years: the Naps, the Cleveland Spiders (after a late 19th century baseball team), or the Cleveland Rocks – new uniforms and signage are likely to be required its around the stadium, which could delay its implementation, a source said.