Cleveland’s Major League Baseball team has decided to change its nickname, moving away from the Indians moniker it has employed for more than 100 years and that is considered insensitive to indigenous peoples, according to David Waldstein and Michael S. Schmidt of the New York Times. CBS Sports HQ’s Jim Bowden has since confirmed Cleveland’s plans. An announcement from the team could come as soon as this week, per the Times.
It’s unclear how Cleveland will refer to itself during the upcoming season. One option is to keep the name for an additional year before then transitioning to a new identity; another is to go the route of the National Football League’s Washington franchise, which dropped its own offensive nickname in July. The club has since been known as the Washington Football Team. Cleveland would, presumably, be called the Cleveland Baseball Team until a new nickname could be settled upon.
Cleveland’s decision comes more than two years after it started to distance itself from the “Chief Wahoo” logo. Back in July, when the Washington Football Team announced its altered identity, Cleveland announced it would investigate the “best path forward” with regards to the team name. Subsequently, our Dayn Perry offered several replacement options, including the ever-popular “Spiders,” as well as the “Rockers,” the “Crows,” and “Dobys,” named after Hall of Famer Larry Doby, who was the American League’s first Black player.
Cleveland’s franchise has had three other identities during its existence: the Naps (after Nap Lajoie), the Bronchos, and the Blues. Of those, the Naps is the only name that lasted beyond a single season.
Though Cleveland seems to be progressing toward a name change, there’s no indication that the Atlanta Braves will follow suit. The Braves have faced increased scrutiny in recent years for their promotion of the “Tomahawk Chop” gesture. The Braves were said to be contemplating their support of their gesture over the summer.