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Cleveland Indians set to drop “racist” name that riled fans, Native Americans

Tue 15 Dec 2020    
| 2 min read

Cleveland’s Major League Baseball team confirmed Monday that it will drop its problematic “Indians” tag after ire from fans and Native American groups alike who decried the moniker as racist.

The organisation affirmed the change in a statement on Twitter, but has yet to decide on a replacement name for the long-held “Indians” tag adopted in 1915.

“We have conducted an extensive process to learn how our team name affected different constituencies and whether it aligned with our organizational values,” said the team.

“As a result of that process, we have decided to move forward with changing the current team name and determining a new, non-Native American based name for the franchise.”

“We believe our organization is at its best when we can unify our community and bring people together — and we believe a new name will allow us to do this more fully.”

Team owner Paul Dolan said the decision had been taken after consulting with Native American groups.

“We gained a deep understanding of how tribal communities feel about the team name and the detrimental effects it has on them,” Dolan said.

“There is a credible number of people in this community who are upset by our name, are hurt by our name, and there is no reason for our franchise to bear a name that is divisive.”

While stressing the Indians will “always be a part of our history” Dolan also admitted that it was time to move forward and unify both stakeholders and fans through a new name.

It is not immediately clear when the name change will take effect. Several US reports on Monday said the team would continue to be known as the Indians through the 2021 season.

Cleveland’s move mirrors a decision taken by the NFL’s Washington Football Team, who dropped their old team name “Redskins”, deemed offensive to Native Americans, earlier this year.

The Washington decision came during a period of nationwide soul-searching over issues of race in the United States following the death of unarmed Black man George Floyd during his arrest by police in Minneapolis in May.

Cleveland’s decision was denigrated by President Donald Trump on Sunday, who chalked it up to “cancel culture.”

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 have ruled out any changes to the team’s name and logo, arguing it honours the Native American heritage. The team however, also issued a warning to fans earlier in the year to respect the sanctity of the culture and banned the wearing of headdresses as costumes.

[Sourced from Agencies]