Cleveland Indians owner Paul Dolan told the Associated Press (AP) on Monday that his team’s name “is no longer acceptable in our world.” Dolan was referring to the team’s decision to change their name from “Indians,” a name they have had for 105 years, to a new name that is yet undecided.
“We’ll be the Indians in 2021 and then after that, it’s a difficult and complex process to identify a new name and do all the things you do around activating that name,” Dolan said. “We are going to work at as quick a pace as we can while doing it right.”
After months of deliberation on the name-change decision, Dolan cited the death of George Floyd as an “awakening or epiphany,” he told the AP. “It’s a name that had its time, but this is not the time now, and certainly going forward, the name is no longer acceptable in our world,” Dolan said.
Fawn Sharp of the National Congress of American Indians said:
Today’s announcement represents a monumental step forward in Indian Country’s decades-long effort to educate America about what respect for tribal nations, cultures, and communities entails, and how sports mascots like the ‘Indians’ prevent our fellow Americans from understanding and valuing who Native people are today, what makes us unique, and the many contributions we make to this country.
The Washington Redskins changed their name to the Washington Football Team in July after having the Redskins name for 88 years, when companies such as FedEx, Nike, and Pepsi recently renewed threats to end their deals and/or stop selling the team’s merchandise until the name changed.
“We don’t want to be the Cleveland Baseball Team or some other interim name,” Dolan told the AP. “We will continue to be the Indians until we have identified the next name that will hopefully take us through multiple centuries.”