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Cleveland’s Baseball Team FINALLY Changes Their Name to the Guardians

The franchise gets a new, non-racist team name.

cleveland mlb

Cleveland’s baseball team announced a major league name change today: the team will no longer be called the Cleveland Indians, but will now be known as the Cleveland Guardians. The team announced the name change in a promotional video complete with a voice-over from Tom Hanks and music from the Black Keys.

“We remember those moments as we move forward with change. You see, there’s always been Cleveland ― that’s the best part of our name. And now it’s time to reunite as one family, one community, to build the next era for this team and this city,” Hanks intones over the video. Team owner Paul Dolan announced the name change last year, after decades of activism and lobbying by various Native American groups and activists. This follows the 2018 decision to retire the racist team mascot “Chief Wahoo,” an offensive caricature that dates back to the 1930s.

“Cleveland has and always will be the most important part of our identity,” team owner Paul Dolan said. “Therefore, we wanted a name that strongly represents the pride, resiliency and loyalty of Clevelanders. ‘Guardians’ reflects those attributes that define us while drawing on the iconic Guardians of Traffic just outside the ballpark on the Hope Memorial Bridge. It brings to life the pride Clevelanders take in our city and the way we fight together for all who choose to be part of the Cleveland baseball family. While ‘Indians’ will always be a part of our history, our new name will help unify our fans and city as we are all Cleveland Guardians.”

Cleveland joins the Washington Football Team, formerly known as the “Washington Redskins,” who announced their name change last year. Washington has yet to decide on a new team name. Currently, three major league teams retain names that many would like to see changed: MLB’s Atlanta Braves, the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs, and the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks.

Many prominent Native American and Indigenous activists, artists, and leaders responded to Cleveland’s name change, including Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, who tweeted “I am glad to see that the Cleveland baseball team is finally changing its name. The long practice of using Native American mascots and imagery in sports team has been harmful to Indigenous communities. This is a welcome and necessary change.”

Activist Amanda Blackhorse, Diné, who has spent years fighting against the use of Native-themed mascots, said “This victory belongs to the Native people and organizations within Cleveland who have been fighting this issue for decades … Although this change should’ve happened decades ago, I hope other franchises like the Kansas City team and the Atlanta team can learn from this and move away from Native mascots and slur names.”

Plenty of angry conservatives are railing against the name change, including our former president who is now banned from social media and was forced to air his grievances by shouting into the void. He was joined by several fellow Republicans bemoaning the “loss of history” in the name change. Stay mad, guys.

Others took to social media to commend the name change:

(via Indian Country Today, image: screencap/Cleveland Guardians)

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Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.