Opinion: The Cleveland Indians should not change their name

Written by on March 28, 2019

Photo Credit: mlb.com

The Cleveland Indians have been around since 1901 and have been called the Indians since 1915. Throughout their franchise history, they have won 2 World Series, 6 American League Pennants and 10 AL Central Divisions titles along with a 2013 Wild Card berth. The fans in Cleveland have been attached to this team through the good and bad times. When fans go to Jacobs Field (now called Progressive Field), they wear their Indians colors of red white and blue along with an Indians cap, usually with a Chief Wahoo logo on top.

Sadly in 2018, the Indians owner Paul Dolan decided to stop the use of chief wahoo on the team’s uniforms and in the stadium at the end of the season due to the logo portrayed of Native Americans. For years, Native Americans have protested this logo on opening day and during the years the Indians are in the postseason at gateway plaza. With the offensive logo gone, you would think that they would be done protesting the team. Wrong! According to Mark Naymik of Cleveland.com the protesters will be back on April 1 for opening day when the tribe faces the White Sox’s.

But what do they have to protest for? Aren’t the Indians done with the chief wahoo logo? Apparently, they have a problem with the team being named Indians.

Look, the Indians are not the only team in sports with a name that has to do with Native Americans. This also includes the Washington Redskins, Atlanta Braves, Chicago Blackhawks, Kansas City Chiefs and the Florida State Seminoles to name a few. But, this name has been with the team and city for over 100 years and fans grew up with their baseball team being called the Indians. The Dolans have no interest in getting rid of the name after they dismantled chief wahoo from the uniforms and around Progressive Field.

As a fan of this team for 20 years, I would hate to see the name to be changed as would many other fans of this team in Cleveland and across the country. The name just has been tied with baseball in Cleveland for over a century and Cleveland fans takes passions for their sports teams especially the names.

Let’s go back in time to November 6, 1995, two weeks after the Indians lost to the Atlanta Braves in six games in the World Series. On that day, Cleveland Browns owner Art Modell announced that he would be moving the Cleveland Browns to Baltimore, and Cleveland would no longer have an NFL team. This made the Cleveland fans really mad and was just heart breaking for them seeing their team be gone. What else was leaving the team was the name and the tradition the Browns had in the NFL.

The city of Cleveland sued Art Modell and the Browns organization for leaving the city. The mayor of Cleveland at the time, Michael White, was fighting to keep the team in Cleveland along with the name and tradition. Many fans were also helping him in the fight as well. The Browns did end up playing their final game at Municipal Stadium on December 17, 1995, as they did end up winning the game. Two months later, the NFL announced that the Browns will be deactivated for 3 years and an expansion team will come, meaning that the name Cleveland Browns will stay in Cleveland along with a new team that will still have the history of the team from 1946-1995.

After I heard stories from family members about when the Browns moved and saw some videos of what happen, I know that Cleveland fans will act in a similar way if our baseball team is no longer called the Cleveland Indians. This team has been part of Cleveland for such a long time that the name should not go. Fans of Cleveland sports raise their families on loving the Indians, Browns and Cavaliers. The tradition that comes with taking your son or daughter to their first baseball game at Progressive Field or just going to the game to create memories you can cherish for a lifetime, making sure that their kids stay Indians fans their whole lives and have a passion for the team. Having the team no longer be called the Indians will be very disappointing to the fans and going to the Jake will no longer be the same.

If this ever happens in my lifetime where the baseball team in Cleveland is no longer called the Indians, mark my words: I will never attend a game at Progressive Field ever again and will not be a fan of the team with a name that is not called the Indians. It has such a deep connection to many people in the city and should not go. If you want to see similar events to the 1995 Browns move again, well that is what will happen if the Indians name is changed.

Enzo Orlando is a member of the BSR Sports Department and Host of Pass The Mic Saturdays from Noon to 2 p.m. Follow him on Twitter @JohnnyEnzo2 and the show @pass_the_mic


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