(Cleveland) The Cleveland Indians will change their name after 105 years.
Citing three people well aware of the decision, the New York Times reported on Sunday night that the team would be turning the page on the name that has been considered racist for decades. The Indians have been discussing a name change internally for several months.
A spokesperson for the team revealed to The Associated Press that no immediate comment would be made regarding the report.
The New York Times said the team could make an official announcement later this week. It’s still unclear when the change will take effect or if the team has chosen a new name.
The Indians move is in the same vein as that made earlier this year by the Washington Soccer Team, which was previously known in the NFL as the Redskins.
For years, Native American groups and others have protested against the use of the name Indians by the city of Cleveland and against the images used by the team founded in 1901. Last year, the team removed the logo controversial “Chief Wahoo” of his caps and uniforms, but the smiling mascot has remained popular and items in his image are still sold.
The Indians had to deal with the backlash from fans upset by the logo’s removal and the team are sure to hear more now that they’ve decided to change their name.
In July, hours after the Washington Football Team’s plans came to light, due in part to pressure from its sponsors – including FedEx, which owns the stadium’s naming rights – Indians owner Paul Dolan issued a statement in which he said the team would consider “the best way forward regarding the club name.”
In the following months, the team consulted with players, management, training staff, community leaders, shareholders, and Native American groups.
Days after Dolan’s statement, Indians manager Terry Francona said it was time to “take a step forward” with the name change.
“I thought about it and I had thought about it before I made this statement,” said Francona, who has been with the team since 2013. I know in the past, when I was asked the question, whether it was about our name or “Chief Wahoo”, I would usually respond that I know we never try to be disrespectful. “
“I still have that feeling, but I don’t think that’s a good enough answer today. I believe this is the time to take a step forward. It is a very difficult subject. It is also very delicate. ”