The Cleveland Indians will discuss changing their team name, Ken Rosenthal and Zack Meisel of The Athletic originally reported.
Founded in 1901 and originally known as the Blues, 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 or 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.
As for the Indians, they released a statement Friday that reads:
"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.
"We have had ongoing discussions organizationally on these issues. The recent 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.
"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."
A number of teams at the college level have over the years moved away from Native American-inspired team names and mascots, and the Indians themselves have gradually phased out the "Chief Wahoo" logo, partly because of pressure from MLB. The last remnants of it went away prior to the 2019 season, when they took the field for the first time in 70 years with no sign of Wahoo on their uniforms. The team still sells a very limited amount of Wahoo merchandise, which they must do in order to maintain control of the trademark.
It's far too early in the process to speculate about possible replacement names for the franchise. However, for some time there's been a groundswell of support for the Indians to take on the name "Spiders" as a nod to Cleveland's short-lived National League franchise of the late nineteenth century.
The Atlanta Braves could be subjected to many of the same post-Chief Wahoo criticisms that Cleveland has been, but they've yet to announce any plans to reconsider their team name and uniform design.