Seven months after announcing its intention to change its name, Cleveland’s Major League Baseball team has settled on an option. Starting in 2022, the club will be known as the Cleveland Guardians.
The team revealed their new name on Friday morning with a video narrated by Oscar-winning actor Tom Hanks. “Together we support all who understand what it means to be born and built on earth,” Hanks said in the video. “This is a city and a game that we believe in. And together we are all Cleveland Guardians.”
The name was met with mixed reactions on the Internet, but it represents an unequivocal step forward for the franchise, called the Indians since 1915. Last year, in the wake of the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, the property and Cleveland’s leadership began to contemplate a name change that has drawn criticism for its racist roots for years.
“By hearing firsthand the stories and experiences of Native Americans, we gained a deep understanding of how tribal communities feel about the team name and the detrimental effects it has on them,” said team owner Paul Dolan in a released in December. “We also spoke with local civic leaders who represent diverse populations in our city and who highlighted the negative impact our team name has on our general population and on underrepresented groups throughout our community.”
Unlike the Washington Football Team, which dropped its previous name in 2020, Cleveland did not adopt a temporary name for the 2021 season. (Washington will not announce a new name until 2022).
“We are not going to step away from the Indians,” Dolan told the Associated Press after the initial announcement. “The new name, and I don’t know what it is, will not be a name that has Native American themes or connotations.”
The name change comes after five decades of public outcry against the team’s name and its former mascot, Chief Wahoo, a racist Native American cartoon. (The team downgraded the mascot to “secondary status” in 2014 and removed its image from use in 2019). Since the 1970s, the team has faced multiple unsuccessful legal challenges on its behalf, and protesters have congregated at every Cleveland home opener since 1971. Even in 2020, during the pandemic-shortened season, when games are They were playing completely without fans, the protesters took their places.
“Cleveland’s announcement today that they have officially changed their team name to Guardians is welcome,” said Crystal Echo Hawk, CEO and founder of the Native American advocacy group. IllumiNativ. “Cleveland’s leadership was the first to begin the process of not only eliminating harmful mascots and team names, but also proof that it is possible to eliminate the use of Native American imagery in sports. It is an important step to correct the mistakes made against indigenous peoples and it is a step towards justice. Both Cleveland and Washington are proof that it’s not about whether pets can change, it’s when. How long will the Kansas City Chiefs, Atlanta Braves and Chicago Blackhawks pretend change is not inevitable? The NFL, MLB and NHL must urge these franchises to be on the right side of history. “
Cleveland’s new name has a local resonance; four art deco sculptures called the Traffic Wardens flank the Hope Memorial Bridge over the Cuyahoga River near Progressive Field. Cleveland also released several logo images on Friday, including a winged baseball adorned with a red G.
“Cleveland has always existed,” Hanks said in the video, which shows the statues. “That is the best part of our name. And now is the time to come together as a family, a community, to build the next era for this team and this city, to watch over and protect what makes this game the best, to come together and welcome all who want to join us. We are loyal, proud and resilient. We protect what we have won and always defend it. Together we support all those who understand what it means to be born and built on earth ”.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism