Cleveland manager Terry Francona told reporters on Sunday that he’s in favor of the team changing its name, which many indigenous people consider to be racist and offensive.
“I think it's time to move forward,” Francona said on a Zoom call, via 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, 61, continued, saying that he feels it’s important to not only listen, but to learn from what you hear.
“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.”
The team has done some listening in the recent past, finally phasing out the Chief Wahoo mascot in 2019. But not until now have they so seriously and publicly considered changing the name.
The Indians have been using that name since 1915. If they intend to replace their nickname and mascot, several worthwhile candidates have been proposed, including the Cleveland Spiders, named for the short-lived National League team that played in Cleveland in the late 1890s, and the Cleveland Dobys, named for Larry Doby, the second Black player in MLB and the first in the American League.
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