A column by Jesse Frazier
After the Washington Football team removed the name “Redskins” from the franchises storied past it was only a matter of time before Cleveland removed the nickname “Indians” from its great baseball franchise. After Washington made the change in July, yesterday Cleveland announced it would remove the nickname from its team starting after the 2021 season. With over 100 years holding the nickname, Cleveland’s baseball team has been known as the Indians since 1915 as they have won two titles in that span in 1920 and 1948. With only the two titles to show Cleveland has had many great teams in the past thirty years with great teams for most of the 90’s and more recently the 2016 team which went all the way to Game 7 of the World Series before loosing to the Chicago Cubs who would end a 108-year drought of their own. The team is also featured in the baseball classic film “Major League” with Charlie Sheen in one of the most well-known sports comedies ever.
Cleveland has had to adjust their logo itself a few years ago as the famed Chief Wahoo logo had to be redone by the team as it wrongfully portrayed an Indian. The logo had blue and red coloring with an Indian that had huge teeth which was highly offensive to the native tribes. The Redskins were more of a positive portrayal of a tribe as it meant a symbol of strength and honor, but the change was needed despite the multiple Super Bowls they won with the nickname. Despite changing the logo to a plain large letter C, this was not enough as the pressure from other teams considering change made Cleveland do the same for better PR. Fans are also being told to stop wearing any sort of clothing or apparel that makes them appear as a Indian like face paint and feather hats. The events of 2020 with racial injustice and inhumane brutality made us rethink the comfort we have with our sports teams having controversial names like these and the changes were needed. I now wonder if teams like the Raiders, Chiefs, and Braves are now reevaluating their own nicknames going forward.
Cleveland will not change its name until after 2021 so they can have a concrete name going forward unlike Washington who has played this year and will continue next year under the title “The Washington Football Team”.
The change was needed, and it truly felt like it was a matter of time after Washington changed their name first. Some will think the changing of the logo is enough and some will just think nothing had to be changed at all. In this day in age if something is the least bit controversial it should not be used for the public eye as you will lose a portion of your fanbase. In the future we will look back and think it was crazy the team made it so far as the Indians in the first place and fans will be able to focus on the team on the field rather than a controversial nickname and logo.