The Cleveland Indians are one of Major League Baseball’s oldest franchises, with a history that dates back to the 1800s. They took on the name Indians in 1915, marking the sixth name-change the team underwent since their inception as the Grand Rapids Rustlers in 1894.
Now it appears there will be a seventh name-change, as Cleveland announced on Friday night in the following statement.
— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) July 4, 2020
At a time in which our country is trying to make a change towards social equality, it has become counterculture to continue to glorify Native Americans.
The team originally came up with the name after it was a nickname for the Cleveland Spiders baseball team in the late 1890s when Louis Sockalexis played on the team. Sockalexis was a Native American from the Penobscot tribe. Now Cleveland will search for a new name that can be more widely celebrated.
Another team that is in the midst of a potential name change is the Washington Redskins in the NFL. Team owner Daniel Snyder has been very opposed to making the change in the past, but some corporate sponsor are making that stance very difficult to maintain.
FedEx, who has naming rights to their stadium, Pepsi and Nike have all made the request for the team to change their name. Also Nike has even pulled all team merchandise from their store. Because of all of this a shift now appears imminent.
It seems like both of these franchises are taking a step in the right direction. It will be interesting to see what new names they land on and how long it will take for them to implement them.