“I understand the historic impact and importance of this decision,” Dolan wrote before sharing some of his own memories of “past Indian teams.”
Dolan believes, however, that “Cleveland is the most important part of our team name.”
The upcoming name change follows the team’s mascot, Chief Wahoo, being retired from the team uniforms after the 2018 season over similar concerns from critics that it was a racist stereotype. Cleveland Indians fans, however, were often known for sporting Wahoo merchandise or even dressing up as the mascot for games. Fans still celebrate the mascot at games. The team now sports a giant ‘C’ instead of the character on their uniforms.
Dolan says the decision to change the team’s name is the “result of a process that began in June” that included conversations with stakeholders, Native American groups, and other activists.
Reports that the Indians would be changing their name had already ignited a wave of mockery and accusations of “cancel culture” at play, including from President Donald Trump.
Though Dolan says he is committed to the name change, he provided no timeframe for when it will happen or what the new name could be.
Dolan called the name change a “multi-phased” process that is “complex” and will “take time.” While the rebranding is in process, however, the Cleveland Indians will play as…the Cleveland Indians.
Nonetheless, Dolan promises that whatever this new name is, it will “take us into the future and proudly represent this storied franchise.”
“Our organization is at its best when we can unify our community and bring people together,” he also wrote.
The Cleveland Indians have held their name since 1915 and the franchise, as well as its name, have been immortalized in popular culture through films like ‘Major League.’
They were previously named the Naps before settling on the Indians as a name. That name has been floated as a possible replacement, as well as the Spiders, the name of a now-defunct team from the city.
Other suggestions from fans on social media have included “Wild Things” and “Cleveland Rocks,” references to Charlie Sheen’s Indians pitcher’s nickname in ‘League,’ as well as the Cleveland-based sitcom ‘The Drew Carey Show.’
Reports of Cleveland’s baseball team changing their name has already elicited a horde of mockery and protests on social media.
There is no word yet on if Jobu, a rum-loving voodoo doll meant to help the fictional Cleveland Indians in ‘Major League’ that moved into reality and entered the actual team’s locker room in at least the 2016 season, will also be deemed offensive and banned like Cleveland’s name and Chief Wahoo.
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