There are plenty of Cleveland Indians fans who still firmly want the team to keep the nickname “Indians,” and who wish to have the name at least a little while longer. They just might get that wish.
Cleveland Indians owner Paul Dolan said Thursday on a Zoom call with the Akron Roundtable that the team might have to delay implementing a new nickname for 2022.
The organization will decide by the middle of the 2021 season whether they will go ahead with the name change in 2022, or whether they will delay it until the 2023 season.
“The timeline remains the same,” Dolan said, “Just to be clear, we said, ‘No sooner than 2022.’ Our target is still 2022, but it is a difficult process. Trying to find a name that works, that we can clear, and ultimately in a tight time frame.
“By ‘tight,’ I mean we can’t just show up in spring training (in 2022) and say, ‘Here’s the new name.’ We have to have it buttoned up long before that.
“It could be sometime in the middle of this year whether we know we’ve got it down where we can do it for 2022. If not, we’d have to push it to 2023. We’re working hard to get it done by then, but there’s no certainty in that.”
At no point did Dolan say the team would stay with the Indians name, so a name change for the club is still coming. It’s just a matter of when.
The Indians have been debating a name change for some time and got rid of longtime mascot Chief Wahoo a few years back.
“We felt it was the right thing to discontinue the use,” Dolan said about retiring Chief Wahoo.
“Frankly, we also felt it was the smart thing to do because the reality is the issues around the name are not going to go away. And I don’t think it’s our role as a sports team representing a community to be in the midst of a culture war. We need to unite people.”
The baseball franchise has been known as “the Indians” for the past 106 years, going back to 1915.