| USA TODAY
Redskins not the only team with racially insensitive nickname
SportsPulse: While Washington’s NFL team is finally putting to bed their racially insensitive nickname. Remember there are other major sports teams whose nickname origins are linked to America’s culturally-insensitive past.
The Chief Wahoo logo was officially removed last year and soon the “Indians” nickname will be gone as well.
Cleveland’s Major League Baseball team is expected to announce this week plans to drop the nickname it first assumed in 1915.
The move is part of continuing social changes in sports and follows a similar decision by the NFL’s Washington Football Team, which in July dropped its “Redskins” nickname under pressure from corporate sponsors such as Nike and FedEx.
Hours after Washington first announced it would review the team’s name, Cleveland’s organization issued a statement saying they would “determine the best path forward with regard to our team name.”
Here’s the latest on the Cleveland baseball team’s nickname, and potential next steps.
WHY ARE THEY DOING IT?
For years, Native American groups and others have protested against Cleveland’s use of the nickname as well as other imagery used by the team such as the smiling, cartoonish Chief Wahoo logo.
Washington’s move to drop “Redskins” opened the door for Cleveland.
After Cleveland said in July that it would review its use of the nickname, manager Terry Francona said it was time to “move forward” with the name change.
Since then, officials from the Cleveland team have spoken with numerous Indigenous groups across the country as they began the “listening and learning” phase of their review of the name.
WHEN WILL THE NEW NAME BE OFFICIAL?
The timetable for when a new name will be selected is not entirely clear.
The New York Times, which first reported the news, said the nickname may remain in place for the upcoming 2021 MLB season as the team worked toward a shift as early as 2022.
As the Washington Football Team’s name change has shown, the transition to a new name can be a complicated and lengthy process.
In October, Washington team president Jason Wright said there was a “pretty good chance” the team will keep its current name through 2021.
WHAT WILL BE THE NEW NAME?
That’s yet to be determined and part of the logistical hurdles of completely rebranding a team. It might involve consulting firms, fan input and focus groups.
Will Cleveland go into its history for its new moniker? If so, the team will have options.
Prior to the current nickname, the American League franchise’s names included the Naps, Bronchos and Blues. Other options might include Cleveland Spiders, a team in the now-defunct American Association and the National League in the late 1800s; or Cleveland Buckeyes of Negro leagues fame, as suggested by Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown.
Or the team could go with something completely new.
CAN I STILL BUY INDIANS GEAR?
Short answer is yes.
There’s plenty of gear available on MLB.com.
And although the team last year removed the Chief Wahoo logo from its caps and jerseys, merchandise bearing its image is still sold around the Internet.
ANY OTHER NAME CHANGES COMING?
The Kansas City Chiefs, Atlanta Braves and Chicago Blackhawks, as the New York Times notes, have all said recently they have no plans to change their nicknames.
But with Washington and Cleveland changing their names, the pressure on those teams will only mount.
Contributing: Bob Nightengale, Mike Freeman, Jace Evans.