CLEVELAND: The Cleveland Indians are changing their name — they just don’t know to what or when.
Expressing that “it’s time,” owner Paul Dolan said that after months of internal discussions and meetings with groups, including Native Americans who have sought to have the team stop using a moniker many deem racist, the American League franchise is dropping the name it has been known by since 1915.
In an exclusive interview with The Associated Press on Monday (Tuesday in Manila), Dolan said: “The name is no longer acceptable in our world.”
Dolan said the team will continue to be called Indians until a new name is chosen. That “multistage” process is in its early stages and the team will play — and be branded — as the Indians at least through next season.
“We’ll be the Indians in 2021 and then after that, it’s a difficult and complex process to identify a new name and do all the things you do around activating that name,” Dolan said. “We are going to work at as quick a pace as we can while doing it right.
“But we’re not going to do something just for the sake of doing it. We’re going to take the time we need to do it right.”
Dolan said the team will not adopt an interim name until choosing its new one.
“We don’t want to be the Cleveland Baseball Team or some other interim name,” he said, adding he hopes the new name “will hopefully take us through multiple centuries.”
Cleveland’s move follows a similar decision by the NFL’s Washington Football Team, previously known as the Redskins.
“It was a learning process for me and I think when fair-minded, open-minded people really look at it, think about it and maybe even spend some time studying it, I like to think they would come to the same conclusion: It’s a name that had its time, but this is not the time now, and certainly going forward, the name is no longer acceptable in our world,” Dolan said.
As Cleveland considers new names, Dolan said Tribe, the team’s popular nickname for decades, has been ruled out.