The name change revolution in sports has now touched baseball. The Cleveland Indians days might be over soon.
The organization said Friday night that they will review their long-debated nickname.
It 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 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 NFL’s Redskins are also embarking on a “thorough review” of their name. It has been deemed offensive by Native American groups for decades.
The Redskins’ decision came in the wake of FedEx. The company paid $205 million for naming rights to the team’s stadium. They and other corporate partners called for the team to change its nickname.
There have been previous efforts to get the Indians to rename themselves. However, the protest movement sparked an eradication of racial insensitivity.
In 2018, the Indians removed the Chief Wahoo logo from their game jerseys and caps. The grinning, red-faced mascot is still on merchandise that is sold.
Nothing has been decided, but the Indians’ decision to at least discuss the possibility of a name change is new.
“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.”
Before their name was changed in 1915 to the Indians, Cleveland’s baseball team was called the Forest Citys, Spiders, Blues, Bronchos and Naps. It was a name to honor Hall of Famer Nap Lajoie.
The Indians was a nickname picked after sportswriters solicited readers.