Cleveland’s Major League Baseball team will drop the name “Indians” after Native American groups criticized the moniker as racist, US media reported Sunday.
The Indians have used the nickname for more than a century after adopting it in 1915 but have been under pressure to make the change for some time. The team owners tried to alleviate some of the criticism when they got rid of the Chief Wahoo logo and announced they would conduct a thorough review of the “Indians” name.
The team is expected to announce the name change this week, but it is unclear when they plan to make the official change or if they have even chosen a replacement, The New York Times reported on Sunday.
The Indians would be the latest American sports franchise to get rid of their Native American logo, joining the NFL’s Washington Football Team, who dropped their nickname “Redskins” earlier this year due to racist connotations.
Previously, the Indians had been called the Cleveland Naps, after Napoleon “Nap” Lajoie, their star player and manager.
The Indians have won two World Series, with the most recent being in 1948, meaning their 72-year championship drought is the longest in North American baseball.
The decision is a victory for Native American groups, but others see it as political correctness gone too far.
Some diehard Cleveland baseball fans have tried to counter the criticism, and on Sunday night, US President Donald Trump added his two cents.
“Oh no! What is going on? This is not good news, even for “Indians”. Cancel culture at work!” Trump wrote on Twitter.
The NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks, Atlanta Braves of MLB and Kansas City Chiefs of the NFL are other pro clubs that use Native American names and logos.
The Blackhawks owners announced earlier this year that they had no plans to drop their name and logo because it honors a real life Native American.
“The Chicago Blackhawks’ name and logo symbolizes an important and historic person, Black Hawk of Illinois’ Sac & Fox Nation, whose leadership and life has inspired generations of Native Americans, veterans and the public,” the team said in July.
The dropping of Native American monikers also comes at a time of reckoning over racial injustice and racism in the United States.
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