July 26, 2021
Cleveland’s Major League Baseball team will no longer be known as the Indians. Instead, the club wall call itself the Guardians, the franchise announced on Friday, July 23—caving to pressure to drop the racially offensive name it has been known as for more than a century, CNBC reports.
The change was announced in a video on Twitter narrated by Oscar winner Tom Hanks, who worked in Cleveland early in his acting career and starred in the women’s baseball movie “A League of Their Own.”
The name Guardians is a reference to well-known art deco statues located on the Lorain-Carnegie Bridge, which spans the Cuyahoga River and connects downtown Cleveland to the city’s trendy Ohio City neighborhood. Those statues are known as the “Guardians of Traffic.”
In its Friday post, the team gave a further explanation for the choice of the name Guardians: “To protect, to keep watch, to defend. For Clevelanders, this is a way of life. We fight together for what we believe in. And if we get knocked down, we pick each other right back up and keep fighting. We’re resilient, hard-working, and loyal — to this city and to each other. That’s what it means to be Cleveland Guardians.”
The franchise said it surveyed more than 40,000 fans about potential names and conducted more than 140 hours of interviews with supporters, front office members and community leaders in northeast Ohio.
The announcement did not say when the new name will be effective. However, MLB.com reported that will happen for next season. The franchise currently is in second place in the American League Central.
According to CNBC, the NFL’s Washington football team last year dropped its former name, the Redskins, which was decried as demeaning to Native Americans, as corporate backlash intensified. The franchise adopted Washington Football Team on a temporary basis, playing last season under that name. It will continue to be known as the Washington Football Team for the 2021 campaign.
The Washington Post reported earlier this month that a new name and logo for the NFL team will be announced in early 2022.
Research contact: @CNBC