Cleveland Indians look into changing name amid pressure

Sports

(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

CLEVELAND (AP) — They’ve been known as the Cleveland Indians since 1915. Those days could be over.

Amid new pressure sparked by a national movement to correct racial wrongdoings, the Indians said Friday night they will review their long-debated nickname which has been in place for 105 years.

“We are committed to making a positive impact in our community and embrace our responsibility to advance social justice and equality,” the team said in a statement that came just hours after the NFL’s Washington Redskins announced a similar move. “Our organization fully recognizes our team name is among the most visible ways in which we connect with the community.”

The move mirrors the one made by the Redskins, who are embarking on a “thorough review” of their name, which has been deemed as offensive by Native American groups for decades. The Redskins’ decision came in the wake of FedEx, which paid $205 million for naming rights to the team’s stadium, and other corporate partners calling for the team to change its nickname.

There have been previous efforts to get the Indians to rename themselves. But following the death of George Floyd in Minnesota and other examples of police brutality against Black people in the U.S., there has been a major move nationwide to eradicate racially insensitive material.

In 2018, the Indians removed the contentious Chief Wahoo logo from their game jerseys and caps. The grinning, red-faced mascot, however, is still present on merchandise that can be purchased at Progressive Field and other team shops in Northeast Ohio.

Nothing has been decided, but the Indians’ decision to at least discuss the possibility of a name change is new. There will certainly be backlash from some Cleveland fans, but the team is sensitive to doing the right thing in these changing times.

“We have had ongoing discussions organizationally on these issues,” the Indians said. “The recent social unrest in our community and our country has only underscored the need for us to keep improving as an organization on issues of social justice. With that in mind, we are committed to engaging our community and appropriate stakeholders to determine the best path forward with regard to our team name.”

“While the focus of the baseball world shifts to the excitement of an unprecedented 2020 season, we recognize our unique place in the community and are committed to listening, learning, and acting in the manner that can best unite and inspire our city and all those who support our team,” the club said.

Before their named was changed in 1915 to Indians — a nickname picked after sports writers solicited readers — Cleveland’s baseball team was called the Forest Citys, the Spiders, Blues, Bronchos and Naps, a name to honor Hall of Famer Nap Lajoie.

By TOM WITHERS, AP Sports Writer

FOX 2 Newsletters

Sign up for a newsletter from FOX 2 to get updates about news and weather. We offer daily headlines, breaking news, severe weather, and forecast emails.

St. Louis Sports

FOX2 Sports is your home for the latest information about the St. Louis Cardinals, the St. Louis Blues, Saint Louis University, the University of Missouri, and the University of Illinois.

Are the Cardinals making a big trade? Are the Blues ready for another Stanley Cup run? Is someone going to sign a major free-agent deal? Are the Tigers, Billikens and Illini bringing in the next big recruiting class? We cover all the big games that matter.

The MLS is coming to St. Louis in 2023 and we’ll be here for the start of STL SC too. The XFL thrived in its reboot season playing at the Dome at America’s Center, and if the BattleHawks return in 2022, we’ll be there to tackle it.

St. Louis is home to some of the best high school student-athletes who go on to succeed in the pros and beyond. Before Larry Hughes, Bradley Beal and Jayson Tatum made a name for themselves as Division I NCAA basketball stars at SLU, Florida, and Duke, they played at CBC and Chaminade. Before Ezekiel Elliott, Sheldon Richardson and Jeremy Maclin became Ohio State Buckeyes and Missouri Tigers and NFL first-round draft picks, they went to John Burroughs, Gateway Tech and Kirkwood. All of them were featured in the FOX2 Prep Zone before they went off to the SEC, Big 12, Big Ten and beyond.

Members of our team, including Sports Director Martin Kilcoyne, Charlie Marlow, and Rich Gould have covered every significant moment in St. Louis sports since 1987, from the football Cardinals’ departure for Arizona to the arrival of the St. Louis Rams; from the Mark McGwire home run chase to the Cardinals’ World Series titles, to the St. Louis Rams and the Greatest Show on Turf era’s Super Bowl crown; from Brett Hull to Vladimir Tarasenko, we’ve covered the Blues all the way to the team’s first Stanley Cup.

Think of all the great characters in St. Louis area sports history. Jack Buck, Mike Shannon, Charlie Spoonhour, Norm Stewart, Whitey Herzog, Tony LaRussa, Stan Musial, Dick Vermiel, Lou Brock, Albert Pujols, Kurt Warner, Ozzie Smith, Hull, Pat Maroon, Keith Tkachuk, Yadier Molina, Adam Wainwright, David Freese. All of them talk to us.

Popular

Latest News

More News