The times, they are a-changin’, as the great Bob Dylan once said.
Add the Cleveland Indians to the list of sporting franchises that are getting rid of their team name. It was reported first by the New York Times, and Jeff Passan later wrote this at ESPN:
Cleveland has not settled on a new nickname, and it’s unclear whether the team will be dropping the nickname immediately or will transition to a new moniker following the 2021 season.
Following the decision of the NFL’s Washington franchise to drop its nickname and ultimately rebrand as the Washington Football Team, Cleveland announced it planned to undertake a thorough review of the Indians name, which it adopted in 1915. Previously, the team had been called the Cleveland Naps, after Nap Lajoie, their star player and manager.
Other teams who have changed their Native American/indigenous peoples-themed branding are the Washington Football Team and the Canadian squad formerly known as the Edmonton Eskimos. The Kansas City Chiefs and Chicago Blackhawks added new rules barring fans from wearing native-themed attire and the Atlanta Braves sent an email to season ticket holders explaining their recent efforts and current stance on the matter. This is all a direct result of the wave of social justice that swept across the country following George Floyd’s spring murder.
Cleveland recently changed their branding and went to the block C instead of using the traditional “Chief Wahoo” mascot, but the name “Indians” always seemed like it would be untenable moving forward, considering that it was macro-level and wasn’t connected to any specific tribe. It was not, for instance, like Florida State, where you could say the nickname and branding is relevant to a certain group (the Seminole Tribe).
The real question is what name they should use moving forward. Here are some options:
- Cleveland Baseball Team
- Northern Ohio Baseball
- The Cleveland Rock and Rollers
- The Cleveland Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is a Joke Because Judas Priest isn’t in it Baseball Club
- Cleveland United
- Cleveland F.C.
- The Cleveland Fighting Shane Biebers
- Progressive Field Baseball Team
- The Suburban Akron Baseballers
There are plenty of good options out there.