Cleveland Indians Will 'Determine Best Path Forward' for Team Name amid 'Recent Social Unrest'

The announcement from the Cleveland Indians followed a similar move from the NFL's Washington Redskins

Cleveland Indians
Photo: Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Hours after the NFL’s Washington Redskins revealed they will "undergo a thorough review" of the team's name, the MLB's Cleveland Indians have announced a similar move.

Similar to the Washington team, the Cleveland Indians have faced pressure for years to change their name, but the backlash has ramped up in recent weeks following the murder of George Floyd and the subsequent Black Lives Matter demonstrations worldwide.

“We are committed to making a positive impact in our community and embrace our responsibility to advance social justice and equality," a statement from the MLB team said on Twitter Friday. "Our organization fully recognizes our team name is among the most visible ways in which we connect with the community."

The statement continued, "We have had ongoing discussions organizationally on these issues. The recent social unrest in our community and our country has only underscored the need for us to keep improving as an organization on issues of social justice. With that in mind, we are committed to engaging our community and appropriate stakeholders to determine the best path forward with regard to our team name.”

Two years ago, the Indians removed their Chief Wahoo logo — a racist caricature of a Native American man — from game jerseys and caps, but fans can still find the mascot on merchandise at team shops and at the Indians’ Progressive Field.

The name, a clear reference to Native Americans, dates back to 1915.

Prior to being called the Indians, a nickname picked after sportswriters solicited readers, the team was referred to as the Forest Citys, Spiders, Blues, Bronchos and Naps, a name to honor Hall of Famer Nap Lajoie, according to ESPN.

Cleveland Indians
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"While the focus of the baseball world shifts to the excitement of an unprecedented 2020 season, we recognize our unique place in the community and are committed to listening, learning, and acting in the manner that can best unite and inspire our city and all those who support our team," the Cleveland team concluded in the statement released on Friday.

Earlier that same day, the Washington Redskins announced that they would consider changing their name, a racial slur used to describe Native Americans. The announcement came less than 24 hours after leading sponsor FedEx called on the team to change its name.

"In light of recent events around our country and feedback from our community, the Washington Redskins are announcing the team will undergo a thorough review of the team’s name," the team told PEOPLE in a statement. "This review formalizes the initial discussions the team has been having with the league in recent weeks."

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