Dec 14, 2020 - Sports

Reports: Cleveland Indians to drop nickname

Starting pitcher Shane Bieber #57 of the Cleveland Indians pitches to Keston Hiura #18 of the Milwaukee Brewers during the first inning at Progressive Field on September 06, 2020 in Cleveland, Ohio
Starting pitcher and 2020 American League Cy Young Award winner Shane Bieber pitches for Cleveland against the Milwaukee Brewers at Progressive Field in Cleveland, Ohio, Sept. 6. Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images

The Cleveland Indians baseball team will remove the nickname they've used for 105 years, the New York Times first reported Sunday.

Why it matters: Native Americans have long called the moniker offensive. Cleveland announced in July the team was looking into changing its name. It began removing the Chief Wahoo logo from uniforms last year as it's deemed racist by many.

Details: Cleveland is expected to announce its plans as early as this week, per the NYT and ESPN, which notes the team hasn't decided on a new moniker.

  • It wasn't immediately clear whether the name change would happen straight away or following the 2021 season.

What they're saying: The Oneida Nation, which is headquartered in New York, said in a statement to ESPN that the change was "the culmination of decades of work."

  • "Groups like the National Congress of American Indians passed resolutions for decades on this, social science has made clear these names are harmful and Cleveland got out in front of it and they're leading, and rather than having this hanging over their heads, they're charting a new path," the statement added.
  • President Trump tweeted, "Oh no! What is going on? This is not good news, even for "Indians". Cancel culture at work!"
  • Cleveland did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment on the reports.

Read more: In the next Axios Sports newsletter.

Go deeper