The owner of Cleveland Indians, Paul Dolan announced on Monday that he was changing its nickname which it has held since 1915.
It is not yet known which nickname they will adapt. According to him, it was time for a Cleveland Indians name change as the moniker was deemed racist. The decision came about after months of deliberation with various groups and especially Native Americans who had for years sought to have the American League franchise to drop it. The owner claims that the process leading up to his decision to scrap the name was both challenging and enlightening. Although he expects the decision to be painful, it should be considered the end of an era and the beginning of a new one with less controversy.
It is expected that the team will continue using the nickname at least throughout the 2021 season. If you follow baseball or any other sporting events, read more here on how you can bet on them in legit and trusted casinos and sportsbooks.
Why the Name Change Was Inevitable
The decision to change its nickname follows a similar path taken by the NFL Washington Football Team which was nicknamed the Redskins. Cleveland baseball team had already stopped using the logo of Chief Wahoo in its jerseys and caps in 2019. The owner wants the new name to have a connotation or theme associated with Native Americans.
This decision to change the nickname is as a result of the civil rights momentum that is calling for the removal of symbols and names that are considered prejudicial. The owner also said he had an epiphany or awakening following the death of George Floyd, a black man while being arrested by police. While he acknowledges that some Cleveland supporters will be displeased and there may be a backlash, he sees it as the right decision that has long been overdue.
The main argument here is that if Native Americans deem the name as offensive, then it has to be dropped. Native American groups that met with the club hailed the decision as groundbreaking and urged others to follow suit. Even with the change of name, the owner still expects the club to honour its roots and tradition. The team will still be remembered as the Cleveland Indians of 1915 up to the time when a change of name will be effected. This will be the beginning of a new history which will be built together by the fans and community.
Will other teams follow suit?
With the decision of Cleveland to drop their racist name, attention is now turning to how other teams may react. The Atalanta Braves had already stated they would not be seeking a change in name as it has always had an active and supportive relationship with Native Americans. However, the decision by Cleveland Indians may put more pressure on them to reconsider. The last time a team from the MLB changed its nickname was in 2008 when Tampa Bay Rays dropped their Devils Rays moniker. In the National League, the last team to change its nickname was in 1964 when Houston Colt .45s became the Astros.