Paul Dolan, owner of Cleveland's Major League Baseball franchise, announced on Thursday that the team intends to "engage "Native American leaders" and others concerning its continued usage of the "Indians" nickname. Dolan's commitment comes after a meeting with the organization's players and manager Terry Francona.
Here are Dolan's words from a team statement. It's worth noting that he does not use the nickname:
"As we approach Opening Day, I wanted to provide an update regarding our team name and our plan moving forward. In our July 3rd statement, we shared a commitment to listening and learning from our community, and we appreciate the passionate response over the past several weeks.
Earlier this week, I had a candid and productive meeting with Terry and our players, where they expressed their desire to help our organization in this process. Our players care about the organization and feel strongly about social justice and racial equality. I support their interest in using their platform to unite our city and our nation through their actions.
As I explained to our players, I am invested in engaging our community and appropriate stakeholders to help determine the best path forward with regard to our team name. In the coming weeks, we will engage Native American leaders to better understand their perspectives, meet with local civic leaders, and continue to listen to the perceptions of our players, fans, partners, and employees. We feel a real sense of urgency to discuss these perspectives with key stakeholders while also taking the time needed to ensure those conversations are inclusive and meaningful.
We will continue to share periodic updates as we make progress. In the meantime, we are excited for our team to return to the field to continue our pursuit of a World Series Championship."
Cleveland's franchise has been known by its current nickname since the 1915 season. Prior to that, the franchise had been known by other nicknames, including the Naps, Bronchos and Blues.
Francona's son, Nick, published an editorial on GQ where he argued that a rebrand is only part of what the team needs to do in order to make amends with the Native American community. As Francona noted, the "retired" Chief Wahoo logo still appears on products and merchandise.
Earlier this month, Washington's National Football League team announced it would no longer use a nickname that was offensive to Native Americans. The Atlanta Braves, meanwhile, are said to be discussing whether to discontinue the use of the "tomahawk chop" gesture at home games.