Cleveland baseball team to drop ‘Indians’ from its name

The squad's spent much of the past year moving away from that name. Now, they're reportedly making it official.

Loading the player...

After years of protest from Native Americans, a second sports team is dropping its mascot moniker.

The Cleveland Indians have spent much of the past year quietly moving away from that team name, choosing new uniforms emblazoned with the name of the city only. But this week, the baseball team will reportedly move to make the change official. 

Jose Ramirez of the Cleveland Indians hits a two run double off Carlos Rodon of the Chicago White Sox back in September. The Cleveland team is dropping its moniker after years of protests from Native Americans. (Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images)

The New York Times was the first to report the change, which will require “many logistical considerations.” One story source noted that the change may not officially be completed until 2022. 

The adjustment in Cleveland comes after Washington’s NFL organization dropped its long-held team mascot name, the Redskins. The squad still hasn’t settled on a moniker and is currently known as the Washington Football Team. 

Read More: Baltimore Ravens player Calais Campbell, Rockefeller Foundation launch Black biz fund

The changes come in the wake of national conversations about race that intensified this year, following protests against systemic racism and for police reform following several high-profile deaths of African Americans. 

Cleveland’s baseball franchise has been known as the Indians for over a century, and the name has been decried as racist for just as long; both the teams in Cleveland and Washington had been criticized for holding on to their respective mascots. The influence of sponsoring companies may have pushed the name-change decisions over the top. 

Read More: Too Short and E-40 set for last Verzuz battle of the year

One fan, a local attorney, tweeted, “I honestly didn’t think this day would come. In a city where change sometimes seems impossible, in a year where our problems are more salient than ever, this is a small and good and needed step in the right directly. I’ll proudly go to a game when we can.” 

Predictably, President Donald Trump tweeted his displeasure with the decision. “Oh no! What is going on? This is not good news, even for “Indians”. Cancel culture at work!” 

Other teams with mascot names associated with Native American culture — including the Atlanta Braves, Kansas City Chiefs, and Chicago Blackhawks — have shown no indication that they plan to change them. 

Have you subscribed to theGrio’s “Dear Culture” podcast? Download our newest episodes now!
TheGrio is now on Apple TV, Amazon Fire and Roku. Download today!

Loading the player...