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Cleveland MLB team to drop 'Indians' from its name, though not immediately

The Major League Baseball team in Cleveland, Ohio, will drop "Indians" from its name, according to a report from...

Posted: Dec 14, 2020 7:48 AM
Updated: Dec 14, 2020 3:45 PM

Major League Baseball's Cleveland Indians announced Monday that the franchise will change the team name but will continue to play as the 'Indians' until the club determines their new branding.

In a team-issued statement, Cleveland's owner and chairman Paul Dolan acknowledged negative feedback received from civic leaders and Native American coalitions, including the Cleveland Indigenous Coalition and the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI).

'Hearing firsthand the stories and experiences of Native American people, we gained a deep understanding of how tribal communities feel about the team name and the detrimental effects it has on them,' he said.

'We also spoke to local civic leaders who represent diverse populations in our city and who highlighted the negative impact our team name has had on our broader population and on under-represented groups across our community.'

Cleveland said the name change process is the first of many steps in their pledged rebranding effort, which 'will take time.' The franchise did not set a timeline for the changes and said the club will continue to use the name Indians during the process.

The decision to change the team name, first reported by The New York Times, comes at a time when America is coming to terms with its racist past. A summer of protesting the deaths of Black people at the hands of police has led professional sports teams, companies and even schools to reconsider branding, imagery and memorabilia based on ethnic stereotypes and caricatures.

Sports teams with names based on Native Americans, including MLB's Indians and Atlanta Braves, and the NFL's Washington Redskins and Kansas City Chiefs, have been facing pressure to reexamine their names as Americans more directly grapple with issues of racism.

Washington's NFL team -- formerly the Redskins -- did away with their name in July and are now the Washington Football Team.

Origin of the Cleveland team name

Change the Mascot, a national grass-roots campaign, applauded Cleveland's move on Monday, saying it shows a growing understanding that Native people should not serve as mascots for sports teams.

'With their commendable decision to alter the team name, Cleveland's team is taking an important step,' Ray Halbritter, an Oneida Nation representative and leader of the Change the Mascot campaign, said in a statement. 'For decades, Native American leaders including the National Congress of American Indians have called on Cleveland to change the name and logo. By finally acting, Cleveland's team is moving the team and professional sports forward down a new path of inclusivity and mutual respect.'

The 'Indians' name dates to 1915, when it was chosen by the team and a group of baseball newspaper writers. Though its exact origin is unclear, the name was partly based on the contemporary success of the Boston Braves, who won the 1914 World Series, as well as on Louis Sockalexis, a former Native American baseball star in Cleveland who died in 1913, according to Cleveland Magazine.

Cleveland removed its 'Chief Wahoo' logo, a racist caricature of a Native American character, from its team uniforms after the 2018 season.

'I think it's time to move forward,' Terry Francona, the manager of Cleveland's baseball team, said in July when discussing the team's name. 'It's a very difficult subject. It's also delicate.'

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 763915

Reported Deaths: 8581
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1526881914
Ramsey63091977
Dakota56699523
Anoka53591515
Washington33431329
Stearns28298252
St. Louis23444355
Scott21503159
Wright21099171
Olmsted18023118
Sherburne15420114
Carver1353254
Clay1016098
Rice9936131
Blue Earth960759
Crow Wing9396107
Kandiyohi830996
Chisago828062
Otter Tail7941104
Benton7454109
Beltrami645978
Mower642240
Douglas624689
Goodhue614784
Itasca608981
Winona608254
McLeod589270
Steele580825
Isanti565474
Morrison553566
Becker524662
Polk506377
Freeborn485242
Nobles480052
Lyon451456
Carlton443866
Nicollet431351
Pine424630
Cass420742
Mille Lacs411265
Brown405347
Todd397336
Le Sueur381831
Meeker354552
Waseca326130
Martin322834
Wabasha29095
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Dodge27149
Roseau261026
Fillmore241012
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Houston230017
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Sibley207312
Cottonwood195228
Kanabec190230
Chippewa189740
Aitkin181542
Watonwan170311
Pope15888
Yellow Medicine154720
Rock154519
Jackson145614
Koochiching137919
Clearwater135518
Swift134219
Marshall133419
Murray133210
Pipestone132327
Stevens124211
Lake108121
Wilkin101314
Lac qui Parle97524
Mahnomen87712
Norman8579
Big Stone7934
Grant7759
Lincoln7695
Kittson60322
Red Lake5869
Unassigned541124
Traverse5075
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Cook2460

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 467281

Reported Deaths: 6685
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk73698716
Linn28680379
Scott24441271
Black Hawk20130355
Woodbury18854242
Johnson17800100
Dubuque15577228
Pottawattamie14073197
Dallas13894107
Story1275148
Warren763496
Webster6876111
Cerro Gordo6816107
Clinton6814100
Des Moines657893
Marshall635484
Muscatine6294113
Wapello5807136
Jasper571478
Lee560787
Sioux560276
Marion499791
Buena Vista489745
Plymouth459187
Henry378647
Jones365160
Washington362255
Bremer353867
Benton352056
Boone344837
Carroll341753
Crawford337345
Mahaska313656
Dickinson297651
Clay274631
Buchanan274239
Jackson270445
Kossuth269373
Hardin266448
Tama261476
Fayette253848
Delaware253444
Cedar246326
Page244827
Wright240945
Winneshiek230837
Hamilton228553
Floyd216744
Harrison215277
Madison214325
Clayton210058
Poweshiek206840
Iowa204229
Butler203237
Jefferson197340
Mills197227
Allamakee192952
Cherokee191943
Lyon190641
Cass190557
Winnebago185432
Hancock184739
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Shelby174239
Louisa169651
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Emmet163842
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Mitchell161843
Union159437
Chickasaw156418
Sac156323
Guthrie154034
Palo Alto140831
Clarke140028
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Keokuk137534
Monroe131534
Howard125422
Ida116641
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Greene113712
Lucas112224
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Monona107436
Worth10678
Adair103634
Osceola91117
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Van Buren82721
Decatur81212
Taylor78612
Wayne72024
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Adams4984
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