Cleveland’s Major League Baseball franchise will reportedly drop its Indian moniker in the coming days, the latest team to heed fans’ and tribal communities’ request to leave behind a term long considered racist.
The New York Times first reported Sunday that Cleveland would announce plans for the team’s next generation as soon as this week, although it’s unclear what exactly that means aside from dropping the term in the near future. The Times added that the team could keep the Indians name on uniforms for the 2021 season as the franchise figures out the massive logistical challenge to convert more than a century of iconography into a new era.
ESPN later confirmed the report.
The team has been known as the Indians since 1915, but critics have lambasted the choice for decades, saying the use of such terms and adjacent imagery are harmful to indigenous people. Cleveland had begun phasing out logos that included a cartoon mascot called Chief Wahoo this year.
“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 July. “Our organization fully recognizes our team name is among the most visible ways in which we connect with the community.”
Also in July, Washington’s National Football League team said it would no longer be called the Redskins, a derogatory and racist name that had also drawn intense criticism from fans and Native American activists. The franchise has been known as the Washington Football Team this year.
“The decision to use ‘Washington Football Team’ for this season allows the franchise the ability to undertake an in-depth branding process to properly include player, alumni, fan, community, and sponsor input,” the team said at the time.
Other teams have so far resisted calls to follow the teams’ lead, including the Chicago Blackhawks and Kansas City Chiefs.