Cleveland’s baseball team, known since the mid 1910s as the Indians, is expected to change its name, the team said in a statement Monday, the latest sign of storied sports franchises moving to keep pace with cultural shifts in the United States.
The team has since July been discussing the potential change, and plans “to move forward with changing the current team name and determining an new, non-Native American based name for the franchise,” according to a statement.
The New York Times previously reported that the Cleveland Indians have decided to find a new team name, following years of protests from some fans and Native American advocacy organizations. The move, which the team has yet to confirm, would follow a decision made under pressure by the team now known as The Washington Football team to drop its previous moniker. That name has long been seen as a racist term that has sparked offense for years. FedEx, Nike and PepsiCo are among the sponsors pushing the Redskins to take new action.
The Cleveland team said in July, following the Washington team’s decision, that it planned to study its name and what steps it ought to take. In a Monday statement, Paul Dolan, the team’s chairman said executives heard “firsthand the stories and experiences of Native American people” and “gained a deep understanding of how tribal communities feel about the team name and the detrimental effects it has on them.”
The Cleveland team has had other names in the distant past, including the Naps, the Bronchos, and the Blues. The team said it plans to find a name “and work to unify our stakeholders and fans.”