Cleveland Indians change name to Cleveland Guardians

“You see, there has always been a Cleveland – that’s the best part of our name,” actor Tom Hanks said in a video ad he told for the team, which posted it. on Twitter. “And now it’s time to come together as one family, one community, to build the next era for this team and this city.”
The move is part of a larger cultural shift across the United States as corporate brands reexamine their use of racist cartoons and stereotypical names.

“We recognize that the name change will be difficult for some of us and that the transition will take time,” said team owner Paul Dolan. “We hope and believe this change will take us off a divisive path and instead point us into a future where our fans, our city and our region will all be united as the Cleveland Guardians.”

Manager Terry Francona, who played for the Indians and is the son of a former Cleveland player, said on Friday: “We try to be as respectful as possible. And it’s not about us, it’s about the others.

“And you have to come out of your own skin and think about other people who might have a different skin color and what they’re thinking. And we’ve tried to be really respectful and I’m really proud of our organization.”

The team announced last year that they would be changing their names, joining the NFL football team in Washington to say in 2020 that they were changing from a name evoking Native Americans. Cleveland removed the “Chief Wahoo” logo, a caricature of a Native American character, from its uniforms after the 2018 season.
The choice of Guardians is inspired by the architectural history of Cleveland. The traffic wardens are large art deco statues that adorn the Hope Memorial Bridge that connects the west side of town to the east side.

“Indians will always be a part of our history, just as Cleveland has always been the most important part of our identity,” Dolan said. “In researching a new brand, we were looking for a name that strongly reflects the pride, resilience and loyalty of the Clevelanders. “

The Cleveland club will retain its colors, according to the club.

A “welcome and necessary” change

Home Secretary Deb Haaland, the First Secretary to the Native American Cabinet, called the move a “welcome and necessary change.”

“I am happy to see that the Cleveland baseball team is finally changing its name. The long practice of using Native American mascots and images on sports teams has been detrimental to Aboriginal communities,” Haaland said. posted on twitter Friday.

A prominent Native American activist also praised the club’s decision on Friday.

Cleveland’s move proves it’s possible for sports teams to do away with “harmful” names and mascots, said Crystal Echo Hawk, Founder and Executive Director of IllumiNative.

“This is an important step towards redressing the wrongs committed against indigenous peoples and a step towards justice,” Echo Hawk said in a statement.

Echo Hawk renewed its call for other sports teams with names evoking Native Americans to follow suit.

How the Guardians Were Chosen

Guardians will be the fifth name in the franchise’s 120-year major-league history, following the Blues, Bronchos and Naps – although the Indians have by far the longest tenure, dating from 1915.

The team interviewed 40,000 fans, conducted 140 hours of interviews with fans, community leaders and staff, and looked at more than 1,190 names before choosing Guardians, he said.

“‘Guardians’ reflects these defining attributes while taking inspiration from the iconic Guardians of Traffic just outside of Hope Memorial Bridge stadium,” Dolan said in the team’s press release. “It brings to life the pride the Clevelanders have in our city and the way we fight together for all who choose to be part of the Cleveland baseball family.

“While ‘Indians’ will always be a part of our history, our new name will help unify our fans and our city as we are all Cleveland Guardians.”

CNN’s Terence Burlij, Nicquel Terry Ellis, Gregory Wallace and David Close contributed to this report.

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