The Cleveland Indians announced over the weekend they would discuss changing the name of the franchise. Popular manager Terry Francona said he supports the idea of moving on from the name "Indians." The team's star player is also on board with a name change.
"I think it's time to move forward," Francona said Sunday on a Zoom call following the team's Sunday workout (via the Associated Press). "I've been thinking about it and been thinking about it before we put out that statement. I know in the past, when I've been asked about, whether it's our name or the Chief Wahoo, I think I would usually answer and say I know that we're never trying to be disrespectful.
"And I still feel that way. But I don't think that's a good enough answer today. I think it's time to move forward. It's a very difficult subject. It's also delicate."
Not long after Francona's remarks, Francisco Lindor, expressed his openness to a name change. Here's what Lindor told reporters:
"If changing the name brings more love and peace to society, I'm open to listening to the change of the name. Society is shifting, and we are due for some change. I'm open to listen for a change of the name."
The Cleveland franchise has gone by the "Indians" moniker since 1915, after also being called the "Bronchos" and "Naps." Sports teams that use Native American imagery, whether in the form of names or design elements, have been an increasing source of controversy. On Friday, the NFL's Washington Redskins also announced they would consider changing their team name. The Atlanta Braves, however, don't appear inclined to make any changes at this time. A number of college athletic programs have moved from Native American-inspired nicknames over the years, and now that movement appears to have reached the professional level.
The Indians themselves have gradually phased out the "Chief Wahoo" logo, partly because of pressure from MLB. The Indians removed the logo from their uniforms entirely prior to the 2019 season -- the same year they hosted the All-Star Game.
While no decision has been made, the voices of Francona and Lindor are important and will likely increase the momentum toward change.
In the event that the Indians decide change is warranted, we've provided some suggestions for the next team name.