Cleveland Indians to Scrap Team Name

Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco (59), right, reacts beside first baseman Carlos Santana (41) during a pitching change at Progressive Field in Cleveland, Ohio, Sep 30, 2020. (David Richard/USA TODAY Sports)

Cleveland’s baseball team, the Cleveland Indians, will scrap its current nickname after years of criticism that the name is racist.

The team will announce the decision to drop the Indians name after 105 years this week, according to reports Sunday. The organization has not settled on a new nickname for the team. The name will remain for the 2021 season and be changed when the 2022 season starts.

Last year, the team dropped the Chief Wahoo logo that featured a grinning, red, cartoon American Indian face, which critics said was disrespectful of Native American culture and heritage. The logo had been in use in one form or another since 1947.

The Indians have played for over 100 years and won two World Series under the moniker. The 72-year gap since they won their last championship in 1948 is the longest any baseball team has gone without winning the title.

The decision to abandon what is considered a racially insensitive nickname follows years of protests at Cleveland’s Progressive Field. Major League Baseball was also pressuring the team to change its name.

The move also comes shortly after the NFL’s Washington Football Team scratched its controversial “Redskins” nickname in July. The Indians are reportedly considering following a similar path, moving forward at first without a new name as Washington’s team did.

Native American groups, which have criticized the team’s name for decades, are also lobbying to get other teams to drop names considered offensive, including the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs, the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks, and MLB’s Atlanta Braves.

“This is the culmination of decades of work,” the Oneida Indian Nation of New York, which launched Change the Mascot Movement, told ESPN. “Groups like the National Congress of American Indians passed resolutions for decades on this, social science has made clear these names are harmful and Cleveland got out in front of it and they’re leading, and rather than having this hanging over their heads, they’re charting a new path.”

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