Social unrest and change have been common themes in this recent stretch of 2020. A new victim of that change could be the Cleveland Indians’ nickname. With political correctness dominating society, an Indians name change may be coming in the not-so-distant future..
Ken Rosenthal and Zack Meisel from The Athletic get credit for breaking this story.
Indians Name Change: The Team’s Stance
The debate about certain nicknames in professional (and collegiate) sports is one that’s gone on for years. With recent events, however, that conversation is now on another level. The Washington Redskins, a consistent name in these talks, have been under especially heavy fire as of late. Now, the Indians potentially face losing the nickname they’ve used since 1915. Earlier on Friday, the team released a statement promising to look further into their identity.
““OUR ORGANIZATION FULLY RECOGNIZES OUR TEAM NAME IS AMONG THE MOST VISIBLE WAYS IN WHICH WE CONNECT WITH THE COMMUNITY.
WE ARE COMMITTED TO MAKING A POSITIVE IMPACT IN OUR COMMUNITY AND EMBRACE OUR RESPONSIBILITY TO ADVANCE SOCIAL JUSTICE AND EQUALITY.
WE HAVE HAD ONGOING DISCUSSIONS ORGANIZATIONALLY ON THESE ISSUES. THE RECENT 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.”.
Indians Name Change: The Debate
The Indians removed the long-time primary logo Chief Wahoo from all their uniforms last season. That logo was a big reason many held ill-will towards the Cleveland baseball franchise. The new “Block C” logo had taken Chief Wahoo’s place, but now the conversation has shifted to the Indians’ name as a whole. Much of the argument centers around Louis Sockalexis, the first Native American big leaguer. The debate is whether the decision to name the team the Indians was truly a gesture of honor toward Sockalexis or not. Regardless, it’s clear that people want the name changed.
There are, however, some folks who want the name to be left alone, though. Check out any comment section on Twitter under a tweet about the potential name change. It’s an absolute warzone. Protests were held by Native Americans outside of Progressive Field before Opening Day until the head organizer was arrested for stealing federal funds.
What Happens Next?
My guess is that the Indians release another statement by the end of this weekend. It will certainly be interesting to see what takes place. The team constantly hears backlash over the Wahoo logo as well as the name, so an entire rebrand could prove fruitful. Still, the name resembles a beloved baseball franchise in northeast Ohio that means a lot to local fans. The Spiders is a new nickname being tossed around Twitter as the nickname is one formerly used by the franchise.
Whatever the decision from the team is, one thing is certain. Someone, somewhere, is going to be unhappy.
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