Cleveland MLB players meet with owner to discuss potential name change

Cleveland's players met Tuesday with owner Paul Dolan to discuss a potential name change for the team, which has been called the Indians for the past 105 years.

Team has used Indigenous-slur nickname for 105 years

Members of the Cleveland MLB team line up for the national anthem before an exhibition game on Saturday. Team players met with manager Terry Francona and owner Paul Dolan on Tuesday to discuss a potential name change for the franchise. (Gene J. Puskar/The Associated Press)

The Cleveland Indians will consult with Native American groups as they consider changing the name of their franchise for the first time since 1915.

Owner Paul Dolan gave more details on the steps the team is undertaking on a potential name change amid a national movement to remove racist symbols and monuments.

Earlier this week, Dolan met with Cleveland's players, front-office members and manager Terry Francona to discuss the possibility of a name change as well as other issues such as social justice and race relations.

Dolan called the talks "candid and productive."

"Our players care about the organization and feel strongly about social justice and racial equality," Dolan said on the eve of the team's delayed season opener. "I support their interest in using their platform to unite our city and our nation through their actions.

"As I explained to our players, I am invested in engaging our community and appropriate stakeholders to help determine the best path forward with regard to our team name. In the coming weeks, we will engage Native American leaders to better understand their perspectives, meet with local civic leaders, and continue to listen to the perceptions of our players, fans, partners and employees.

WATCH | What led to Edmonton CFL team's name change?:

Rob Pizzo evaluates factors that lead Edmonton CFL team to change its name

1 year ago
Duration 4:53
The Edmonton Football Club will discontinue the use of the word "Eskimo" in the team's name 4:53

"We feel a real sense of urgency to discuss these perspectives with key stakeholders while also taking the time needed to ensure those conversations are inclusive and meaningful."

The Indians' decision to consider a name change comes on the heels of Washington's NFL team dropping the name Redskins along with a logo deemed racist and offensive by many.

Cleveland removed the contentious Chief Wahoo logo from its game caps and jerseys after the 2018 season. The smiling caricature had been part of the team's history since the 1930s. Despite it not being on the team's game-day apparel, Chief Wahoo is still on some merchandise available to the public.

Dolan said the team intends to share "periodic updates as we make progress" on the name change. The team hasn't definitively said it would drop Indians, which has been its name for 105 years, but it appears there's momentum toward that taking place.

Francona said a few weeks ago that it was "time to move forward" and change the name. Many Cleveland fans seem to be in favour of a new moniker as well, but there is some resistance by those who don't view Indians as an offensive term.





Add some “good” to your morning and evening.

A variety of newsletters you'll love, delivered straight to you.

Sign up now


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?