Sports

Could Indians be close to name change? Latest update on search for Cleveland’s new name


Cleveland baseball fans are getting closer to finding out what the new name for their team will be. 

The team announced in June that it had compiled a list of almost 1,200 potential names to replace Indians. A report in July indicated the team was close to reducing that number to one.

“We’ve engaged our fans and community on many aspects of our team name process,” said Curtis Danburg, Indians vice president of communication and community impact. “We felt it was important to share our research journey and what we’ve learned so far.”

Here’s the latest on where things stand regarding the name change. 

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When could the Indians name change happen?

Sources told Cleveland.com on July 21 that the club had decided on a new name but wasn’t ready to announce a change. The sources also said that progress was being on setting the new name and the announcement timeline, which would indicate that the club is still considering multiple name options. 

The team’s name branding process page lists the steps it has been taking to come up with a new name, starting with listening and learning, announcing the step to change the name, researching the name options, developing name ideas through discussions with the community, designing the brand around names and going through legal steps of making sure they are not trademark protected, and finally unveiling the name. 

Based on the latest news, the team appears to have reached or passed the branding, legal and unveiling stages. 

What are some name options?

Cleveland has gone from a list of 1,198 names and narrowed it down through 14 steps of vetting and has picked out the top choices. 

What those top choices are, however, remains uncertain. 

Among the favorites most commonly thrown out there in the baseball community are the Spiders, the Guardians, the Rockers and the Rockets. 

While Cleveland has not announced what the finalists are, it did reveal how it reached this list. The team said it has gone through 140 hours of interviews with fans, community leaders, staff and front office personnel while surveying more than 40,000 fans.

From there, Cleveland identified themes of preserving the team’s baseball history, connecting with the city and uniting the community, the page says. 

Why are they changing their name?

Cleveland first announced in July 2020 that it was considering changing before it was announced in December that the team would officially change the name. 

In the news release tweeted out on Dec. 14, the team said that it would move forward with a “new, non-Native American based name” for Cleveland’s baseball franchise. 

Indians owner and chairman Paul Dolan said that the team spoke with Native American people and “gained a deeper understanding of how tribal communities feel about the team name and the detrimental effects it has on them.”

“We also spoke to local civic leaders who represent diverse populations in our city and who highlighted the negative impact our team name has had on our broader population and on under-represented groups across our community. I am truly grateful for their engagement and input, which I found enlightening and insightful. When a sports team is aligned with its community, it unlocks the ability to unite people from different backgrounds and bring people together in support of their home team,” Dolan said in the statement. 

The decision was the latest of a wave of rebranding taking place around the nation, with the Washington Redskins becoming known as the Washington Football Team as the franchise looks to select a new name and brands such as Aunt Jemima’s, Uncle Ben’s and Land O’Lakes all undergoing changes after the protests in the summer of 2020 that stemmed from the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis. 

The team name of Indians was not exactly intended to be a permanent one, anyway. Cleveland originally used it as a placeholder after it had been called the Cleveland Naps for star talent Nap Lajoie before he was sold to the Philadelphia Athletics. “Indians” was selected as the team’s temporary moniker unless it could not come up with a permanent team name. 


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