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Cleveland Indians officially announce decision to change their name

In a 2004 photo, protesters in Cincinnati call for a change in the Cleveland baseball team's name before an exhibition game between the hometown Reds and the Indians. Sixteen years later, they're getting their wish.

JOE GROMELSKI/STARS AND STRIPES

By RYAN LEWIS | Akron Beacon Journal | Published: December 14, 2020

AKRON, Ohio (Tribune News Service) — The Cleveland Indians on Monday officially announced the team will change its franchise nickname.

In a statement, the organization and owner Paul Dolan specifically said the team will be changing its name to a non-Native American based nickname.

"Since July, we have conducted an extensive process to learn how our team name affected different constituencies and whether it aligned with our organizational values," the organization said in the statement. "As a result of that process, we have decided to move forward with changing the current team name and determining a new, non-Native American based name for the franchise. We believe our organization is at its best when we can unify our community and bring people together — and we believe a new name will allow us to do this more fully."

That means similar names like "Tribe" won't be considered after all, as the franchise completely steps away from any Native American themes for its nickname.

The Associated Press reported Monday the team is expected to continue to use the Indians name through the 2021 season before a new name can be chosen and implemented.

Dolan said he learned more about the need for change during the outreach work the organization did between July and now.

"Hearing firsthand the stories and experiences of Native American people, we gained a deep understanding of how tribal communities feel about the team name and the detrimental effects it has on them," he said in the statement. "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. While Indians will always be a part of our history, it is time to move forward and work to unify our stakeholders and fans through a new name."

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