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Cleveland MLB Team to Consult Native American Groups on Possible New Nickname

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJuly 23, 2020

Cleveland Indians President Paul Dolan speaks at the unveiling of a statue honoring Indians Hall of Fame coach and player Lou Boudreau, before the Indians' baseball game against the New York Yankees in Cleveland, Saturday, Aug. 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Phil Long)
Phil Long/Associated Press

Cleveland MLB team owner Paul Dolan released a statement Thursday to say the franchise intends to meet with members of the Native American community as it weighs a possible name change.

MLB.com's Mandy Bell shared Dolan's statement:

"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. 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."

Mandy Bell @MandyBell02

Statement from Tribe owner Paul Dolan on the team’s possible name change discussion: https://t.co/i6SxHKXR6t

The Washington Football Team announced July 3 the organization was re-evaluating its nickname, which critics had argued was a slur toward Native Americans.

Hours later, Cleveland confirmed it would take a similar step:

Cleveland Indians @Indians

https://t.co/NUM5GYvlwe

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Manager Terry Francona subsequently told reporters he thought "it's time to move forward" concerning a possible change.

The franchise already retired its Chief Wahoo logo ahead of the 2019 season. Cleveland had toned down Chief Wahoo over the years to use less overt Native American imagery, but many saw it as a racist caricature nonetheless.

Cleveland opens the 2020 regular season Friday against the Kansas City Royals, so a new nickname probably won't arrive until later this fall at the earliest.

Rather than finalizing a rebrand right away, the Washington Football Team announced it will carry that temporary moniker through the upcoming NFL season. That could provide Dolan with a short-term solution for Cleveland.  

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