It’s only been a minute since the Cleveland Indians started visually moving away from their preexisting logo, Chief Wahoo, following years of protest by Native American groups. Now, according to the New York Times, the MLB franchise is reportedly set to drop their team name entirely, and adopt a new one that doesn’t carry with it the negative connotations that come with using Native American imagery and stereotypes in professional sports.
According to the Times, the baseball team’s new name announcement might arrive as early as this week, though the paper had no information about what that new moniker might be; one source claimed the move to a new name would likely not take full effect until 2022, due to a potentially lengthy rebranding process.
The news comes almost exactly five months after the Washington Redskins decided to change their own team name, after the NFL franchise argued for years that the nickname was intended as praise for, not an slur against, Native Americans. As of today, Washington still hasn’t selected a new team title, and is currently called the Washington Football Team.
As for what the Cleveland Indians might name themselves, well, the sky’s the limit, but fans have looked to the team’s early nicknames for inspiration. Prior to 1915, the franchise that would become the Cleveland Indians was called the Cleveland Broncos, the Cleveland Bluebirds, and the Cleveland Lake Shores, among others.
What name are we rooting for? Why, the one used by Cleveland’s early American Association team, which existed from 1887 to 1899. It had a name that could strike fear into the hearts of any opposing team, and look cool as hell on a T-shirt: the Cleveland Spiders.