When the Washington Football Team dropped its Redskins nickname it seemed to indicate the long overdue shift in the world of sports where monikers that were offensive to Native Americans and indigenous people would finally be dropped even at the highest levels of professional sports.
Given how staunchly opposed Dan Snyder was to changing Washington’s name, it indicated that the pressure to get rid of names in that same ilk would be on the way out. As soon as Washington became the Football Team, all eyes turned to Cleveland’s baseball team, where the same groups that have long called for a name change from their Indians nickname. Cleveland has steadily gone away from using the highly offensive Chief Wahoo logo, but hadn’t shown much interest, much in the way Washington hadn’t, in changing its name. However, that will change soon according to David Waldstein and Michael S. Schmidt of the New York Times, who report an announcement that the team will change its name is coming very soon.
Following years of protests from fans and Native American groups, the Cleveland Indians have decided to change their team name, moving away from a moniker that has long been criticized as racist, three people familiar with the decision said Sunday.
One of the people said Cleveland planned to keep the Indians name and uniforms for the 2021 season while working to shift away from it as early as 2022.
As noted in the Times report, there are plenty of logistical hurdles to clear in changing the name, including working with apparel partners and sponsors, which is why they may keep the name and uniforms for next season — although the Football Team successfully pivoted away from their name in a rather swift turnaround that would indicate Cleveland could probably do the same if they so wanted to. Still, even if it isn’t until 2022 it’s a welcome change and one Cleveland fans have seemed to expect in recent years, regularly discussing name change options on social media — Spiders is a particularly popular option.
We’ll see how the team goes about its rebrand and renaming, but it’s progress even if overdue.