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Cleveland MLB Team's Paul Dolan on Nickname Change: 'It Is Time to Move Forward'

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistDecember 14, 2020

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

Cleveland's MLB franchise has officially announced its intention to move away from its nickname.

Team owner Paul Dolan said Monday "it is time to move forward" with a name that unifies fans and the city of Cleveland.

"We found our organization is at its best when we can unify our community and bring people together around our shared interest in our home team—and we believe a new name will allow us to do this more fully," the team's statement said.

The team will keep its current nickname and branding until a new one is chosen.

The NFL's Washington Football Team removed its former nickname, which was a racial slur toward Native Americans, earlier this year. The team chose to go without a nickname while it works to select a new one.

Cleveland's MLB franchise announced in July it would look into potentially changing its nickname, which it has held since 1915. The franchise was previously nicknamed the Naps (1903-1914), the Broncos (1902), the Bluebirds (1901), the Lake Shores (1900) and the Rustlers (1894-1899).

Dolan said Monday the franchise "conducted meaningful conversations with a variety of stakeholders, including Native American groups, fans, civic leaders, leading researchers focused on Native American culture and issues, internal teammates, players and corporate partners" over recent months before coming to a decision.

Dolan added that he believes the most important aspect of Cleveland's baseball franchise is the city name, rather than the team nickname.

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Starting in the 2019 season, Cleveland eliminated the Chief Wahoo mascot, which was seen as a caricature of a Native American man.

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