Following news that the Washington Redskins would undergo a “thorough review” of their controversial team name, the Cleveland Indians also announced they would consider changing their team name.
We have had ongoing discussions organizationally on these issues,” the team said in a statement Friday.
“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. With that in mind, we are committed to engaging our community and appropriate stakeholders to determine the best path forward with regard to our team name.”
The team continued, “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.”
— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) July 4, 2020
In 2016, Major League Baseball encouraged the Indians franchise to begin the process of phasing out their longtime Chief Wahoo logo; the racist image was initially relegated from to the team’s secondary logo — with a red “C” replacing it on hats — before Chief Wahoo was eliminated entirely ahead of the 2019 baseball season.
On Friday, the Washington Redskins — who turned to the Supreme Court in 2017 in order to protect their team name after the U.S. Patent Office canceled their trademark — announced that, with the support of the NFL, the franchise would undergo a name change. That decision after investment firms and companies — including FedEx, which currently owns the Washington stadium’s naming rights — threatened to sever ties with the franchise if they remained the Redskins.
The Cleveland Indians did not offer a timeline for a possible name change; the team has been the Indians since 1915. “While the focus of the baseball world shifts to the excitement of an unprecedented 2020 season, we recognize our unique place in the community and are committed to listening, learning, and acting in the manner that can best unite and inspire our city and all those who support our team,” the team said.