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Is the Cleveland Baseball team about to change their nickname?

Cleveland Indians

The New York Times is reporting that the Cleveland Indians will be changing their nickname before the start of the 2021 season.

An official announcement is expected from the team on Monday, but it is not clear how soon the actual nickname will be changed.

Cleveland could decide to compete in 2021 using the “Indians” nickname for one final season or begin that transition immediately. The team has been facing pressure from Native American organizations over the last year about the use of the Indians and of their specific logo.

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The team has used the nickname “Indians” for more than a century, but the team has changed its logo a few times to be more politically correct. Changing nicknames, logos, and branding has been a common trend in professional and college sports, and it was only a matter of time before Cleveland was compelled to make this decision.

When the Washington Football Team announced its decision to drop the nickname “Redskins,” the Cleveland Indians announced that it would undergo a full review of the “Indians” name. Washington is playing this season under the nickname “Football Team,” but a new name is expected to be announced after this season.

What’s In A Name?

Cleveland adopted the “Indians” nickname in 1915, changing their name from the Cleveland Naps. The Naps name came from star player and manager Nap Lajoie.

Indiana owner Paul Dolan has contemplated making this change for several years as protests have become commonplace outside of Progressive Field. There have also been outcries of support for the “Indians” nickname, but the pressure simply became too much to ignore.

A few years ago, the Indians replaced the Chief Wahoo logo with a block “C” in an effort to begin this transition. Dolan has been meeting with Native American groups about the issue, and Major League Baseball has also put pressure on the team to change the name.

The Atlanta Braves are another team in Major League Baseball with a Native American nickname, but they are not expected to make a name change at this time. The Kansas City Chiefs of the NFL and the Chicago Blackhawks of the NHL are two other professional sports teams facing the same pressure.

Cleveland Has Some Suggestions

The Oneida Nation of New York started the “Change the Mascot Movement” to get Cleveland and other professional sports teams to move away from these nicknames. It was expected that Cleveland would eventually have to make a change, and the team has already started to explore possible ideas.

The team could go back to the Cleveland “Naps,” but that nickname has not been used since 1915 and does not have the same meaning. Most fans already refer to the Indians as “The Tribe,” which has been rumored to be a possible nickname option.

Another suggestion has been that the team change its name to the Cleveland “Rocks” to pay homage to the Rock-and-Roll Hall of Fame. The team will likely be forced to change signage and the look of Progressive Field, which could delay the process regardless of what name is chosen.

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