The Cleveland Indians will “determine the best path forward” regarding their team name amid renewed calls for racial equality and social justice, the team announced in a club statement Friday.
The move comes hours after the NFL’s Washington Redskins announced they will “undergo a thorough review” of their nickname amid renewed pressure.
“We are committed to making a positive impact in our community and embrace our responsibility to advance social justice and equality,” the Indians said in a statement posted on social media. “Our organization fully recognizes our team name is among the most visible ways in which we connect with the community.
“We have had ongoing discussions organizationally on these issues. The recent 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.”
Cleveland’s major league team has been known as the Indians since 1915, when the organization changed its name from the Naps. The team was previously known as the Blues in 1901 and the Bronchos in 1902.
There have been previous efforts to get the Indians to rename themselves. But following the death George Floyd in Minnesota and other examples of police brutality against Black people in the U.S., there has been a major move nationwide to eradicate racially insensitive material.
In 2018, the Indians removed the contentious Chief Wahoo logo from their game jerseys and caps. The grinning, red-faced mascot, however, is still present on merchandise that can be purchased at Progressive Field and other team shops in Northeast Ohio.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.