‘Why change it now?’: Cleveland Indians fans react to possibility of future name change

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CLEVELAND (WJW) — When you think of baseball and you think of Cleveland, you think of the Indians, but that nickname could soon be a thing of the past.

“It’s not right, it’s been a tradition in Cleveland since 1901, why change it now, everyone wants to change history,” said John Suncire of Akron.

The Indians announced on Friday night that the recent social unrest across the country and in the community has underscored the need for the organization to keep improving on issues of social justice and with that in mind a possible change to the team’s name.

“With everything that is going on in the world today, I just don’t get it,” said Traci Hope of Cleveland. “I mean what does the name of the Indians have to do with anything?”

“It’s good news, but there is still a lot of work that needs to be done,” said Cynthia Connolly who is on the Executive Board of the Lake Erie Native American Council.

Connolly shared a post on the organization’s Facebook page on Friday calling for an elimination to all native mascots. The post goes on to say Native peoples are not your mascot.

“I think the big thing we are taking away here is that two-thirds of Americans, they simply just do not know or met any Native American persons, so that lack of day-to-day interaction means they are less likely to get a realistic picture of who we are,” Connolly said.

The Indians have had numerous name changes throughout their history, including the Naps, the Blues, the Bronchos and the Spiders. So what would be a reasonable nickname for Cleveland’s baseball team if a name change does happen?

“What are you going to call them? Nothing is right for anyone, you cannot make everyone happy, you just can’t,” said Tomie Prendergast.

“It’s the Rock and Roll town, so I don’t know, Cleveland Rockers or something like that,” said Dan Paullin.

More name changes within Major League Baseball and other sports could also be on the way in the near future. 

The Atlanta Braves released a statement saying the team “honors, supports, and values the Native American community,” but gave no indication they were considering a nickname change like the Cleveland Indians or Washington Redskins.

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