The team announced the Guardians moniker on social media with a video narrated by Tom Hanks and soundtracks by Ohio natives the Black Keys:
Together, we are all… pic.twitter.com/R5FnT4kv1I
— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) July 23, 2021
“There’s always been Cleveland, that’s the best part of our name,” Hanks says in the promotional video. “And now its time to unite as one family, one community. To build the next era for this team and this city. To keep watch and guard what makes this game the greatest. To come together and welcome all who want to join us. We are loyal and proud and resilient. We protect what we’ve earned, and always defend it.”
Hanks added, “This is the city we love, and the game we believe in, and together, we are all Cleveland Guardians.”
Introducing the Cleveland Guardians!
The name will go into effect after the 2021 season. pic.twitter.com/ggCFyIRD2y
— MLB (@MLB) July 23, 2021
In December 2020, after years of protests against the team name from both Native American groups and baseball fans, the soon-to-be-former Indians announced they would replace the team name; in previous seasons, the franchise had already phased out and ultimately eliminated its longtime Chief Wahoo logo.
“The recent social unrest in our community and our country has only underscored the need for us to keep improving as an organization on issues of social justice,” the team said at the time. “We are committed to making a positive impact in our community and embrace our responsibility to advance social justice and equality. Our organization fully recognizes our team name is among the most visible ways in which we connect with the community.”
Prior to the 2021 season, the franchise stated that it would ban Native American headdresses and face paint from their home games at Progressive Field.
The soon-to-be-Guardians join the now Washington Football Team — and, before them, the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux — in changing team names and logos that were racially insensitive toward Native Americans and indigenous people.