Cleveland baseball team to change name to Guardians

Houston, Texas, USA; Cleveland Indians relief pitcher Emmanuel Clase (48) and center fielder Bradley Zimmer (4) celebrate defeating the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park.
Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland’s Major League Baseball team will change its name to the Guardians from the Indians starting next season, it said on Twitter on Friday, after having promised to give up a name that Native Americans view as disparaging.

The team, called the Indians for more than 100 years, started a search for a new name in December.

In 2018, it phased out its “Chief Wahoo” logo — a cartoon figure with red skin, a toothy smile and a feather in his headband — after it was criticized as a racist caricature.

A push to eliminate racially insensitive material intensified following the May 2020 death of George Floyd, a Black man who died after a white police officer knelt on his neck in Minneapolis.

Last July, Cleveland said it would consider a name change as the social unrest in the United States had underscored the need to improve as an organization on issues of social justice.

The National Football League’s Washington team decided last July to retire its Redskins name and logo, which it has used since 1933 and which had long been criticized as racist by Native Americans. It now calls itself the Washington Football Team and says it will adopt a new name next year.

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