Cleveland Will Review “Indians” Moniker as Pressure Mounts on Offensive Team Names

The team said it would review the name to "determine the best path forward"

Cleveland Indians Name
Protestors express their disapproval of the Cleveland Indians Chief Wahoo logo outside Progressive Field on April 6, 2018.
Jason Miller/Getty Images

As the country continues to face its own systemic racism in the face of protests nationwide, sports teams with Native American and Indigenous names are feeling the heat as well. After Washington announced that it would reviewing the “Redskins” name following pressure from sponsors, Cleveland announced on Twitter that it would similarly conduct a review of the “Indians” name, with a possible name change in the works.

One should try to ignore that the tweet comes from an account with the @Indians handle, and focus on how monumental it is for Cleveland to even be considering this. The team finally phased out its racist “Chief Wahoo” mascot after the 2018 season, and only after tons of community pressure finally forced their hand.

However, according to, owner Paul Dolan said in January of 2018 that, while removing Wahoo was “the hardest decision” he’d ever made for the team, the name had the support of MLB commissioner Rob Manfred. A lot can happen in two-and-a-half years, however, and with the continuing dialog about racial inequality and systemic racism, the time finally seems ripe for a name change to one of baseball’s oldest teams.

Whether the name change occurs or not is yet to be seen, as is the case with Washington in the NFL. However, after years of stubbornly clinging to the “Indians” moniker, the tweet announcing a renewed effort to engage with the team’s community in order to figure out whether to change the name is a massive step. It’s also one that the Atlanta Braves, they of the Tomahawk Chop at games, are said to not be following; despite the news about Washington and Cleveland, Atlanta is reportedly hanging on strong to its own name, despite similar pressure to change it.

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