After years of haranguing by left-wing protestors, the Cleveland Indians have finally caved, and will change their team’s nickname.
The name change was announced in a two minute video narrated by Tom Hanks. The team will be called the Cleveland Guardians.
“We remember those moments as we move forward with change. You see, there’s always been Cleveland. That’s the best part of our name. And now it’s time to unite as one family, as one community, to build the next era for this team and this city,” Hanks says. “To keep watch and guard what makes this game the greatest. To come together and welcome all who want to join us. We are loyal and proud and resilient. We protect what we’ve learned, and always defend it. Together we stand with all who understand what it means to be born and built from ‘The Land,'” because this is a city we love, and the game we believe in. And together, we are all Cleveland Guardians.”
Together, we are all… pic.twitter.com/R5FnT4kv1I
— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) July 23, 2021
It is unclear when the name-change will go into effect, but for decades, the team has been derided as “racist” for using the Indians nickname.
Protests against the team’s nickname, and its mascot “Chief Wahoo,” spanned at least from the 1970’s until the present day.
But the current political climate, along with other professional sports teams dropping references to Native Americans in their team names, appears to have pushed the team over the edge.
Before the 2020-2021 football season, Washington’s professional football team dropped its “Redskins” moniker, and adopted “Football Team” as its nickname instead.
In December of 2020, The Undefeated published an article titled “Cleveland baseball team, you’re out of excuses – drop offensive team name now.”
“There is no meaningful line to be drawn between the blatantly racist former name of the Washington football team and monikers such as Indians, Braves, and Chiefs that purport to honor Native Americans,” that publication said. “They are out of excuses. All Native American mascots must be eliminated.”
The response from Native Americans to the team’s name have ranged from angry to apathetic.
The Penobscot Indian Nation formally asked the team to drop the nickname in 2000.
Several Native Americans interviewed in 2012 about the use of the Native American nicknames and imagery in sports said they were unconcerned.
“My great-grandmother was a full-blooded Cherokee Indian. I have no problem, whatsoever, with the use of Native American logos. None at all,” Randy Rollyson said at the time.
“As a member of the Ottawa Tribe of Oklahoma, I generally don’t have any qualms with teams using Native American imagery. The only one I see as kind of offensive is the Redskins, just because of the racial epitaph that is associated with it,” said Garrett Alley.
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