The Cleveland Indians are dropping “Indians” from their team name. The move comes after decades of protest saying it’s a racist slap at Native Americans.
The New York Times, quoting three unnamed sources, reported the news Sunday night.
Cleveland became the second pro sports franchise in the United States to drop a name based on Native Americans. The Washington Football Team got rid of “Redskins” in July. Corporate sponsors, in part, pressured Washington owner Dan Snyder to change the team’s 87-year-old name.
The owners of the Cleveland baseball team probably will announce the news this week, the New York Times said.
The story said that the team probably will keep the Indians name on the uniform next season. So the change will come over a period of time, with Cleveland likely making the move in 2022.
The baseball team has been known as the Indians since 1915.
Cleveland Indians Already Changed Picture Of Its Mascot
The team already had changed some of its logos featuring the mascot, named Chief Wahoo.
Native American activists have long protested the image of Chief Wahoo. In images, Chief Wahoo had a red face. For years, activists gathered outside the Cleveland Stadium to protest the season’s first home game.
One of the people quoted in the Times said Cleveland planned to keep the Indians name and uniforms for the 2021 season while working to shift away from it as early as 2022.
A number of prominent pro sports franchises use a Native American reference in their team names. In the NFL, Kansas City goes by the Chiefs. In baseball, Atlanta’s team name is the Braves. Pro hockey has the Chicago Blackhawks.
A number of major college teams changed their names. However, Florida State still uses Seminoles.
None of the pro teams have announced intentions to phase out the names.