The Indians – previously known as the Forest Citys, Spiders, Bluebirds, Bronchos and Naps before adopting their current name in 1915 – said they’ve been paying attention to changing times and may change along with them.
“We have had ongoing discussions organizationally on these issues,” the Indians said. “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.”
The statement came about two years after the Indians removed their cartoonish “Chief Wahoo” logo from their uniforms – and as the Black Lives Matter movement has recently helped put pressure on the NFL’s Washington Redskins to change their name.
Redskins owner Dan Snyder has long resisted calls to change the name the football team has used since the 1930s, but recent criticism from corporate sponsors such as FedEx – which paid the Redskins $205 million for naming rights to FedEx Field in Landover, Md. -- had Snyder promising this week to conduct a “thorough review” on the matter.
The Redskins also face the likelihood that Washington, D.C., officials will demand a name change if the team attempts to get a new stadium within the city limits, after playing in the suburbs since 1997.
The Indians, meanwhile, said they’re committed to “engaging our community and appropriate stakeholders to determine the best path forward with regard to our team name.”
Previously, Indians owner Paul Dolan said he and MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred preferred to keep the Indians name, Cleveland.com reported.
“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," the club said.
The Associated Press contributed to this story