On Sunday, it was announced that the Cleveland Indians will be dropping their nickname due to a recent rise in social justice efforts.
Back in July, the Washington Football Team dropped the offensive “Redskins” name, and that catapulted similar organizations to take a look at their own identities. Cleveland is the most recent to do so and is set to announce its new name sometime in the next couple of weeks.
Cleveland has been known as the Indians since 1901 but has been dealing with social pressure around the name for the past few years.
“It’s about time,” Chippewa tribe member Clyde Bellecourt told Global Sports Matter. “We have been after them for years.”
The debate about offensive nicknames has been an issue for a long time, but the boiling point has been met and Cleveland is the second of the big professional sports teams to make a change. The organization's first major change happened last year, and the announcement of a complete name rebranding isn’t the biggest surprise.
In 2019, Cleveland dropped its Chief Wahoo logo and switched to the “C” as their primary image. This change came with a lot of backlash amongst the Indian faithful who saw that cartoony figure not as a mockery but as a sense of pride.
Even manager Terry Francona can see why the change is needed but is torn about the entire situation.
“I know in the past, when I’ve been asked about, whether it’s out name or the Chief Wahoo, I think I would usually answer and say I know that we’re never trying to be disrespectful,” Francona told the Associated Press. “I think it’s time to move forward. It’s a very difficult subject.”
Now that the name of the team is being changed, we will most likely see a new logo and new branding package. Cleveland could stick with the “C,” but in an effort to rebrand the team and steer away from its past, we might see an entirely new layout in the coming weeks.
There is no telling if Cleveland is going to a completely new color scheme or the traditional navy blue, red, and white. It can easily be seen in both ways. It will cost more money to do a complete rebrand with all new everything, but they may do it to completely turn a new leaf and go into this new brand 100% fresh.
Although the move away from Chief Wahoo happened (see our article called Chief Wahoo Logo: Rise and Fall), there is still merchandise harboring that figure, and fans still feel connected with the logo. It is safe to say that there is still a community of fans that will be averse to the change. However, the organization feels that it is time to step up and create the change society needs.
This situation might rile some fans up, but it also poses as a really exciting point in the organization’s history because the name hasn’t been changed in over a century. Either way, the rebranding is happening, and in the coming weeks, we will see just how big the changes will be.
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