Major League Baseball Updates
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The professional baseball team in Cleveland, Ohio, will change its name to Guardians after commitment last year to abandon the Indian moniker amid a reaction to the use of Native American references in sports.
“We recognize that the name change will be difficult for many of us, and the transition is going to take time,” Paul Dolan, the team’s owner, said Friday. “It is our hope and belief that this change will take us away from a divisive path, and instead lead us to an event where our fans, city and region are all united as Cleveland Guardians.”
The new name is in honor of eight stone figures known as “Traffic Guards” along downtown Cleveland’s Hope Memorial Bridge.
“Cleveland has always been the most important part of our identity,” Dolan said in a letter to fans posted on the team’s website.
The city’s baseball team is the first major sports franchise to choose a new name amid a wave of pressure from activists. The Washington Football Team, formerly known as Rossini, left the name before the 2020 season but have not yet selected a new one. A team leader recently told the Washington Post that the franchise will reveal a new name in 2022.
Cleveland announced for the first time last summer that it was considering a name change and would hold discussions with Native American groups and others, saying it embraced the “responsibility to uphold social justice and equality.”
In December, the team said it would formally launch a search for a new name, but would play the 2021 season as the Indians.
Dolan said at the time that “listening first-hand to the stories and experiences of Native Americans, we gained a deep understanding of how tribal communities feel about the team name and the harmful effects it has on to them. “
Prior to the decision to change names, the Indians stopped wearing their “Chief Wahoo” logo on the uniform starting with the 2019 season.
Sports franchises have made other changes to eliminate features considered insensitive. The Atlanta Braves of Major League Baseball, whose team name is also a reference to Native Americans, have replaced their slogan “Chop On” – a reference to the “tomahawk chop” song that was a attraction in team home games – with ‘For the A’.
The Indians have banned the use of paint and headgear by fans of Progressive Field, the team’s home stadium in Cleveland, prior to the 2021 campaign.
Paul Dolan’s father, attorney Larry Dolan, acquired the franchise in 2000 for $ 323 million. The team is now worth an estimated $ 1.16 billion, according to Forbes.