Indians weigh 'best path forward' for team name

July 4th, 2020

CLEVELAND -- Over the past month, protests across the country in response to the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis have opened the eyes of many to police brutality, but also to the social injustice and inequality all people of color in America experience.

The Indians are ready to show that they are listening.

After the NFL’s Washington Redskins announced Friday they would have internal discussions about changing their team nickname, the Indians have followed their lead. On Friday night, the club released the following statement about the future of its own name:

“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 social 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.”

Prior to the 2014 season, the Indians began the process of gradually moving away from the Chief Wahoo mark, designating the Block "C" as the team's new primary logo. Last year, the club completely removed the Chief Wahoo logo from its uniforms, leaving only the Block "C." The secondary logo continued to be used on some home caps, as well as a sleeve patch on the team's uniforms. In 2017, the Block "C" replaced the other logo as the sleeve patch on MLB's holiday-issued uniforms.

The organization was established in 1901 as the Cleveland Blues. In 1902, the team was known as the Cleveland Bronchos before becoming the Cleveland Naps from 1903-14. Since 1915, they’ve been known as the Indians. The Cleveland Spiders were also a professional baseball team in Cleveland from 1889-1899, predating the current franchise. 

No decisions have been made at this point, but the Indians are making it clear that they’re ready to listen to those who may find their name offensive and have discussions that will lead them to best represent their community.