Report: Cleveland Indians to Change Name

No word yet on when a formal announcement will come

Nap Lajoie, Major League Baseball Player, Portrait, Cleveland Naps, Harris & Ewing, 1913
Nap Lajoie, Cleveland Naps, Harris & Ewing, 1913.
GHI/Universal History Archive via Getty Images

The Washington Football Team might not be the highest-profile American sports team to change their name for long. A new article from David Waldstein and Michael S. Schmidt at The New York Times reports that the Cleveland Indians will soon be adopting a new name.

This doesn’t exactly come as a surprise; Cleveland’s team has been protested by Indigenous groups for a while now, and the team’s ownership has made no secret of their willingness to explore new options for the team’s name. Over the summer, betting odds suggested some early favorites — including the Spiders, a name used by a precursor to the current MLB team in Cleveland, as well as names honoring Cleveland greats Nap Lajoie and Larry Doby, both Baseball Hall of Famer inductees.

The Spiders name has added resonance due to the presence of star player Louis Sockalexis, a member of the Penobscot Nation, on the team for several years.

The Times article draws on comments from 3 people who spoke anonymously and were “familiar with the decision.” The Times states that the official announcement could come this week, and that Cleveland planned to keep their current name next season and make the change for the 2022 season. Or, at least, a change — the article also notes that Cleveland might go the same route as the Washington Football Team and change their name to something temporary before finalizing matters.

Whatever the team settles on, it will bring to a close one of the biggest controversies in American professional sports — and one that’s been hotly debated for years.

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