The Cleveland Indians shouldn’t be anymore.
According to a report in the New York Times, the MLB team is set to withdraw the Indian team name, which has been in use since 1915.
By the time a new team name is announced, it will likely be known as the Cleveland Baseball Team. The name change will of course have far-reaching repercussions on marketing, from goods to brand partnerships.
Despite the longevity of the franchise team, Native American groups have increasingly encouraged the team to abandon its name in recent years. In early 2018, the Cleveland team announced that it would be pulling its cartoon mascot Chief Wahoo from its uniforms and branding.
Those calls got louder this summer when the assassination of George Floyd in Minneapolis sparked protests and outcry against systemic racism across the country. Cleveland’s decision comes months after the Washington Redskins, now known as the Washington Football Team, announced that they were withdrawing their own team name.
After the Washington Football team announced their decision to withdraw the team name in July, the Cleveland team announced they would conduct their own review.
“We aim to involve our community and appropriate stakeholders in order to find the best way regarding our team name,” the team said in a statement at the time.
The Washington and Cleveland teams were two of the most famous examples of Native American team names in professional sports. Others remain, however, like the Atlanta Braves, Kansas City Chiefs, and Chicago Blackhawks, all of whom have said over the past few months they would not change their names.
The scrutiny of racist brand names and mascots isn’t just important for the world of professional sports: Brands like Aunt Jemima, Uncle Ben, Ms. Butterworth and Eskimo Pie announced that they would review their brand names after criticism or change them completely.