Cleveland Indians to Change Team NameDecember 15, 2020
Cleveland Indians posted on Twitter that they have decided to change their name “Indians”.
Team owner Paul Dolan confirmed the decision on Monday, following a process that involved conversations with fans, players, local and national Native American groups, Cleveland civic leaders, corporate sponsors, and leading Native American researchers.
“There is a credible number of people in this community who are upset by our name, are hurt by our name, and there is no reason for our franchise to bear a name that is divisive.”– Paul Dolan, Team Owner
Native American groups and others have long protested the use of Indigenous names and symbols by professional and amateur sports teams. Cleveland removed the contentious Chief Wahoo logo from its caps and jerseys prior to the 2019 season, though the team still owns the rights to that logo and has continued to sell merchandise bearing the logo according to MLB.com.
We found our organization is at its 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.– Paul Dolan, Team Owner
Until a new name is chosen and various branding and trademarking issues are resolved, Cleveland’s baseball team will continue to be known as the Indians — the name it has carried since 1915 according to Dolan.
The earliest a new name will be used is 2022, but the team has not set a firm date. Dolan did not confirm any of the replacement names or concepts being discussed internally, but he did make it clear that the team will not make its informal nickname — the Tribe — its new team name.
A fifth-generation Clevelander, Dolan said he understands that many fans do not agree with the team’s decision.
“I hope that those who do not [agree with the decision] take the time, like we did, to better understand the issues and think about a role a sports team plays in the community and whether we can play that role with a name like Indians.”– Paul Dolan, Team Owner
Dolan said the team will continue to celebrate its long history as the Indians after a new name is installed. The team will continue to engage with the community during the selection process for a new name, which he acknowledged as “difficult and complex.”
“The process of moving away from Indians is not going to be easy,” Dolan said. “We understand it’s going to be difficult for a lot of people to make that adjustment. But I hope, over time, we embrace the process of reimagining our name. Hopefully it will be a name the community can rally around, and we hope it has more than a 105-year life to it.”
Dolan also acknowledge the team, their players, and the shared Cleveland community for the continued support.
Here’s the statement of Paul Dolan to the fans: