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MLB Indians to consult Native Americans on name change

Major League Baseball's Cleveland Indians, who have had protests about their name, will consult Native Americans about the possibility of changing the nickname, team owner Paul Dolan said Thursday (AFP Photo/Jason Miller)
Major League Baseball's Cleveland Indians, who have had protests about their name, will consult Native Americans about the possibility of changing the nickname, team owner Paul Dolan said Thursday (AFP Photo/Jason Miller)

(AFP)

Cleveland Indians owner Paul Dolan said Thursday he will consult Native American leaders regarding a possible name change for the Major League Baseball club in the wake of similar moves.

A day before the Indians open their coronavirus delayed and shortened 2020 campaign, Dolan said he considered it urgent the team obtain feedback from all sources before making a decision.

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“In the coming weeks, we will engage Native American leaders to better understand their perspectives, meet with local civic leaders, and continue to listen to the perceptions of our players, fans, partners and employees,” Dolan said in a statement.

“We feel a real sense of urgency to discuss these perspectives with key stakeholders while also taking the time needed to ensure those conversations are inclusive and meaningful.”

The Indians have carried that nickname since 1915 but are considering a change in the wake of a national movement to erase racist symbols and monuments.

The NFL’s Washington team dropped the nickname Redskins and Edmonton’s Canadian Football League club has dropped the nickname Eskimos in recent weeks while the Atlanta Braves of MLB plan to keep their name but are reconsidering the “Tomahawk Chop” chant used by fans at home games.

Dolan met earlier this week with Cleveland players, manager Terry Francona and front office staffers regarding the name change and other issues of social justice and race.

“I had a candid and productive meeting with Terry and our players, where they expressed their desire to help our organization in this process,” Dolan said.

“Our players care about the organization and feel strongly about social justice and racial equality. I support their interest in using their platform to unite our city and our nation through their actions.”

Just as the NFL Redskins dropped a logo considered offensive by many, the Indians had retired the Chief Wahoo logo, a grinning Indian face, from its caps and jerseys after the 2018 season.

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