Should the Cleveland Indians change their name?

Jackson Queen & Beau Gromley, Staff

Two reporters share their views in answering the question, “Should the Indians change their name?”.  Editor Jackson Queen says it is time for the change while staff writer Beau Gromley wants them to stay the Indians.  Read what they have to say and then answer our upcoming Twitter poll to share your own view.  You can also leave a comment with your own answer to the question.


by Jackson Queen, Editor

The Cleveland Indians, whose name has long been criticized as being racist, announced Dec. 13 that they will be dropping the team’s name. This decision, among others, was made in response to long standing protests from the teams’ fans and Native American tribes and groups. These protests became louder and stronger as a result of the social and racial unrest that came with the Black Lives Matter movement that targeted systematic racism and police violence. The Cleveland baseball team’s decision shows that they are willing to listen to their fans and communities to change themselves for the better. The change in team name was necessary in helping fight systematic racism.

“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,” the team said in an announcement  Dec. 14.

This announcement has created a deep divide amongst Cleveland fans, and while yes, the Indians has been the team’s name for the last 105 years, fans and people alike need to realize the implications of naming a team after an entire race of people. Sports teams are meant to be for all communities, and when a team alienates a group of people, it no longer becomes something that unifies the community, but divides them further. Teacher Jon Shomo believes that it was time that the team changed their name.

I do think it was time to do it.  The team had extensive meetings with tribal leaders over the last few years, and this is a result of those conversations,” Shomo said.

The name change does not  come as a surprise either. In 2018, the Cleveland Indians made a deal with the MLB to remove the team’s logo, Chief Wahoo, in order to host the 2019 All-Star Game. Chief Wahoo, who the team started using in 1947, was a caricature of an American Indian Chief and was widely criticized for being racist until its ultimate removal.

Even though I completely understand getting rid of the caricature Chief, there was a bit of sorrow in seeing something you grew up with be discarded.  Nevertheless, it is the right thing to do in my view,” Shomo said.

Native American groups usually show up to Cleveland’s home openers to protest the team’s name and commercialization of their culture. These protests are often met by verbal abuse by fans as they enter the stadium. This is a perfect example of the systematic racism that the organization is trying to prevent by changing their name. Senior Mallory Cox believes that the name change was necessary because American Indians believe that it was necessary.

“If (Native Americans) thought it was necessary then it is absolutely necessary. I think currently the impact of the name is mostly negative, due to non BIPOC (Black, Indiginous, People of Color) opinions. However, in the long run, I think it is probably doing more good than harm as to not give a foolish caricature to Indians,” Cox said.

Professional sports are a staple in American culture, as they provide entertainment and are used to bring people together. A name that discriminates against and actively mocks a group or race has no place in the professional sports world. As Cleveland’s baseball team turns over a new leaf and gives their team a new name, they did their small part in helping a larger issue that’s plaguing America today.

Cleveland plans to keep their name through the 2021 season as they pick, plan and release their new name and uniforms. They will start the transition to their new name in the 2022 offseason and into the 2022 season. 

Many names have been thrown around by the media for the Indians to change their name to. Some of the most popular being: the Cleveland Spiders, which was their name before the Indians, the Cleveland Rocks, referencing the Rock n’ Roll Hll of Fame, the Cleveland Monarchs, a once popular Negro League team, or a personal favorite being the Cleveland Guardians, referencing the Cleveland Guardian of Traffic, a statue that looks over the Hope Memorial Bridge.


by Beau Gromley, Staff Writer

The Cleveland Indians are changing their name. They are changing their name because of rising pressure from Native Americans and some fans. Groups of fans and Native Americans have been protesting the “issue” for years and urge all teams to stop using Native American names and imagery because of racism.   

I do not think the Cleveland Indians should change their name. The Indians have had their iconic name for over 105 years and counting. The city of Cleveland loves the Indians and has stuck with them when they have been at their best and their worst. It’s just going to feel really weird hearing anything else but “The Indians”. There was almost nothing better than hopping in my car on a hot summer day after a Little League game and hearing Tom Hamilton announce the final innings of the games and hearing that the Indians won. It is really going to be weird hearing the same voice announcing the same game but for a different team. 

Sure, the organization is making the Native American population happy, but what about the rest of the population that grew up watching them play? The people pushing for the name change say that the name is racist and offends Native Americans ,but in my own opinion I believe that the name would honor Native people more than bring them down. I personally do not think the name change is going to do anything besides make Cleveland Indian fans decide to root for the Reds or just not really care to watch baseball as much. 

There were people protesting this “issue” outside of the stadium for years, but when I look at those people protesting I can not help but think that those people have never picked up a bat or watched a game in their lives. 

In conclusion, I think that the name change is a very soft move and will end up making people want the old name back.