CLEVELAND (AP) – The Cleveland Indians are changing their name – they just don’t know what or when to do it.
Expressing that “it’s time”, owner Paul Dolan said months later internal discussions and meetings with groups, including Native Americans, who wanted to stop the team using a moniker multiple dem racists , The American League is dropping the franchise name. Known since 1915.
In an exclusive interview with The Associated Press on Monday, Dolan said: “The name is no longer acceptable in our world.”
Dolan said the team would continue to be called Indian until a new name was chosen. That “multi-stage” process is in its early stage and the team will play and be branded as the Indians at least next season.
“We will be Indians in 2021 and then after that, identifying a new name and doing everything you do to activate that name is a difficult and complicated process,” Dolan said. “We are working at the right pace, while we can do it the right way.
“But we are not going to do anything to make it happen. We are going to take the time when we need to correct it. “
Dolan said that the team will not adopt an interim name until they choose their new one.
“We don’t want to be a Cleveland baseball team or some other interim name,” he said. “We Indians will remain so until we identify the next name, which will take us further than expected for many centuries.”
Cleveland’s move follows a similar decision earlier this year by the NFL’s Washington football team, formerly known as the Redskins.
“It was a learning process for me and I think when fair-minded, open-minded people actually see it, think about it and maybe spend some time studying it, I think they Come to the same conclusion: a name that had a time, but it is no longer the time, and is certainly moving forward, that name is no longer acceptable in our world, ”said Dolan.
As Cleveland considers the new names, Dolan said the team’s popular nickname Trib has been rejected for decades.
“We’re not going one half step away from the Indians,” Dolan said, accepting the tribe was an early option. “The new name, and I don’t know what it is, wouldn’t be a name that has Native American themes or stereotypes.”
The name change by Indians is the latest by an organization responding to a national movement that gained momentum last summer in the wake of widespread civil rights protests, with preferential names and symbols removed.
To the south, monuments of the Civil War were taken down, and in some cases names were removed from the buildings.
Dolan said his “awakening or epiphany” came after the death of George Floyd, a black man who was arrested this summer by white Minneapolis police officers.
Cleveland’s announcement was praised by Washington NFL coach Ron Rivera, who said his perspective on the issue changed after reading “The Real All-American”, a novel about the Native American football team.
Rivera said he received angry letters from Washington fans who were upset about the name change.
“But I have also taken some notes from Native Americans who have said thank you for doing so and respecting our wishes.” “One thing I hope we won’t forget.” We do not ignore them. We begin to pay attention to their plight and correct them. They are Americans who deserve respect for us. “
Dolan anticipates that there will be an equally sharp reaction from Indian fans who disagree with the team’s decision.
“I consider myself a fifth-generation Clevelander,” he said. “It’s in our blood and baseball and Indians are synonymous, and it’s all a matter of intention versus effect. Nobody did anything negative with our attachment to the name Indians, but the effect was tough. “
Washington dropped its name in July after succumbing to pressure from corporate sponsors.
Hours later Dolan announced an in-depth review of the team’s name. He promised to listen and learn, and that in recent months fans, business leaders, sportsmen, social workers, and researchers focused on Native American culture and issues.
Dolan called those conversations “both enlightening and challenging”.
He said that there is a delicate balance between moving forward and looking back.
“We’re going to honor our past,” he said. “We are not going away from our past. We will eventually change whatever year 1915 is to the Cleveland Indians. We will always celebrate this. I don’t think we have to ignore it.
“But from the day we make changes, the new history we create as a community with our team will be under the banner of a different name.”
Cleveland’s name change comes on the heels of the team removing the controversial main Wahoo logo from its cap and jersey in 2019.
The team has never stopped the sale of grinning, cartoonist figure merchandise, but Dolan said any profit from future sales of Wahoo items would be a reason to support Native American organizations or Native Americans.
Dolan’s family bought the Indians in 2000, and even then he knew that Chief Wahoo was “problematic.” He recognized Indians in the same light after this summer’s unrest and educating himself on Native American issues.
“There is definitely some pain in it. It is the end of an era or the beginning of an era. But at the same time there is recognition and perhaps excitement that we are going to do something which is better. It will be better for the community. It will be better for our team. And it will be something that unites everyone. It is nothing that we have to feel any reluctance to express, ”he said.
“It’s going to take some time to hug everyone but I think we’ll all be better for it when they do.”
AP Sports Writer Howard Fendrick contributed to this report.
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