BOSTON (CBS) — One of the bigger stories in sports on July Fourth weekend came out of the nation’s capital, where the Washington Redskins are formally undergoing an examination of changing the name of the team.
On the heels of that news, eyes turned toward Cleveland, where the Indians have made some slight changes over the years to their uniforms and branding but have yet to explore a name change for the team.
Indians manager Terry Francona, a baseball lifer, said it’s time to seriously consider making that change.
“I think it’s time to move forward,” Francona said Sunday, per The Associated Press. “I’ve been thinking about it and been thinking about it before we put out that statement. I know in the past, when I’ve been asked about, whether it’s our name or the Chief Wahoo, I think I would usually answer and say I know that we’re never trying to be disrespectful. And I still feel that way. But I don’t think that’s a good enough answer today. I think it’s time to move forward. It’s a very difficult subject. It’s also delicate.”
Francona — who guided the Boston Red Sox to World Series titles in 2004 and 2007 — was alluding to a statement released by the Indians on Friday, in which the team said it is “committed to making a positive impact in our community and embrace our responsibility to advance social justice and equality.” The team said it has held “ongoing discussions organizationally on these issues” and was in the midst of determining “the best path forward with regard to our team name.”
— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) July 4, 2020
While the Indians team name has been a part of MLB for more than 100 years, Francona admitted that the time is never wrong to accept positive change.
“Even at my age, you don’t want to be too old to learn or to realize that, maybe I’ve been ignorant of some things, and to be ashamed of it, and to try to be better,” Francona said. “I’m glad that we’re going to be open to listening, because I think that’s probably the most important thing right now, is being willing to listen, not necessarily just talk.”