‘I know that we’re never trying to be disrespectful… But I don’t think that’s a good enough answer today…’
(Claire Russel, Liberty Headlines) The Cleveland Indians baseball team said on Sunday that the team will change its name, citing concerns over racial division and tension.
“I know in the past, when I’ve been asked about, whether it’s our name or the Chief Wahoo, I think I would usually answer and say I know that we’re never trying to be disrespectful,” said the team’s manager, Terry Francona, according to CNN.
“And I still feel that way,” he continued. “But I don’t think that’s a good enough answer today. I think it’s time to move forward. It’s a very difficult subject. It’s also delicate.”
The baseball team announced last week that it was considering changing its name, since its “among the most visible ways in which we connect with the community.” The team had previously removed its “Chief Wahoo” logo, a caricature of a Native American that activists argued was racist.
The team name, however, was in part a tribute to the success of Louis Sockalexis, a former Native American star in Cleveland, according to Cleveland Magazine. Despite this, the team admitted that its name does not “advance social justice and equality.”
The Cleveland Indians are one of several professional sports teams featuring Native-American roots.
After facing pressure from its stadium sponsor, FedEx, the NFL’s Washington Redskins also announced last week that the team would undergo a “thorough review” of its name, following years of perennial complaints from left-wing activist groups.
Dan Snyder, owner of the Redskins, has long defended the name despite this criticism, but the demands from FedEx and other major sponsors—including Nike—seem to have have outweighed the principle.
“This process allows the team to take into account not only the proud tradition and history of the franchise but also input from our alumni, the organization, sponsors, the National Football League and the local community it is proud to represent on and off the field,” Snyder said in a statement on Friday.