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Changing the Name  

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Edible14
(@edible14)
Draft Prospect
Joined: 2 months ago
Posts: 21
07/04/2020 1:43 am  

https://fox8.com/sports/cleveland-indians-open-to-idea-of-changing-team-name/

So the brass opened this particular can of worms as something of a response to the ongoing racial injustice protests. And in a world without other sports news aside from players testing positive for COVID, this is getting a lot of play. Which, I think is probably a mistake. 

And I'm for changing the name. Just as I was for changing the logo. For me it was relatively simple - I saw native folk coming in to protest and explaining their pain. That was enough. But everyone's mileage on that is different. 

My thing about this is, it comes across as a relatively meaningless gesture in the grand scheme of things. When black folks are demanding police be held accountable for things like murdering Breonna Taylor, offering something like this just seems trivializing and patronizing. 

Further, they probably should have done this with the Wahoo change. And *that* change was only done after ownership hemming and hawing for decades about it, sending out fan surveys about how they felt about logos. And still, they chose to only change the logo when the league "forced" them to with the bait of an all star game. 

To this day, I'm convinced that was just a cover for Dolan to be able to say to fans "It wasn't my fault, don't be mad at me."

Dolan continues to absolutely not lead on this issue. I think it's very likely he wants to make these changes but simply lacks the backbone to deal with the initial wave of backlash. One of the first things he did as an owner was introduce a new logo - the failed script I. And the weak words in these press releases only further that impression that he's not leading. It's basically "please leave us alone while you attack the Washington football team, we're working on it" as damage control. 


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Mackie_Lundquist
(@mackie_lundquist)
Draft Prospect
Joined: 2 months ago
Posts: 8
07/04/2020 8:09 am  

Long overdue. Should have been done in the 60s. Naps or Spiders or Forest City’s good historical options. I like Spiders.


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CalBuckeyeRob
(@calbuckeyerob)
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Joined: 2 months ago
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Edible14
(@edible14)
Draft Prospect
Joined: 2 months ago
Posts: 21
07/04/2020 2:27 pm  

The Spiders are sort of the obvious choice, and would be the favorite. Baseball loves reusing old names like they've used the Senators twice, Nationals twice, Orioles thrice and Brewers twice. 

I would submit that a really interesting choice would be the Buckeyes. Go with the Cleveland Negro League team name, as a way of turning the controversy entirely upside down. It would be a way of telling the history of the game.

Blues, Bluebirds, Lake Shores, Naps would all be okay as previously used names. Not exciting but not the worst.

Cleveland Rockers trended on twitter for a bit and that should be a hard pass. Not because of the old WNBA team, but because Cleveland already overdoes the Rock Hall thing. People were saying that when the ASG logo was unveiled. 

Buzzards was also floated and I don't hate that as much.


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Willie Hood
(@willhoo99)
Member Moderator
Joined: 4 months ago
Posts: 94
07/04/2020 5:21 pm  

I'll say more about this at some point. But, frankly, I have reached a point of not caring how it plays out. I'll support the team if they change the name to the River City Swamp Rats... it's more NE Ohio pride and association/tradition.

I know some have suggested simply changing it to the Tribe which is an obvious variation (to some) of the name already in use and the nickname many affectionately use.

My hope in all of this is simply that they keep a similar color scheme. That will make a difference for me, but not entirely.

The history of the Indians organization -name controversy aside- isn't one racism. Truth is, this org has been on the forefront and been a trail blazer... THINK: Larry Doby and Frank Robinson the 1st African American player in the AL and the 1st Afican American Mgr.


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The Prosecutor
(@pros)
Rookie League baller
Joined: 4 months ago
Posts: 27
07/05/2020 9:11 am  
Posted by: @edible14

The Spiders are sort of the obvious choice, and would be the favorite. Baseball loves reusing old names like they've used the Senators twice, Nationals twice, Orioles thrice and Brewers twice. 

I would submit that a really interesting choice would be the Buckeyes. Go with the Cleveland Negro League team name, as a way of turning the controversy entirely upside down. It would be a way of telling the history of the game.

Blues, Bluebirds, Lake Shores, Naps would all be okay as previously used names. Not exciting but not the worst.

Cleveland Rockers trended on twitter for a bit and that should be a hard pass. Not because of the old WNBA team, but because Cleveland already overdoes the Rock Hall thing. People were saying that when the ASG logo was unveiled. 

Buzzards was also floated and I don't hate that as much.

No to Spiders. It's an insect. If the team hadn't been referred to as the Spiders over 100 years ago for a brief time nobody would even think of it, much less suggest it. By the way, if Spiders was such a great name, why didn't it last very long?

A nap is a short sleep taken by a baby or small child. It's not a nickname for a baseball team. OK, so we would be naming the team after Napoleon Lajoie, a great player from the early 1900's. Why? He was a great player, but naming a franchise after him? The only major sports franchise named after a person is the Cleveland Browns. Paul Brown was the founder of the team, not a player. 

Why not go with the Cleveland Fellers or the Cleveland Lemons? Or the Cleveland Dobys? Come on. 

Buckeyes makes sense for the same reason Ohio State Buckeyes makes sense. But it would result in confusion in newspaper columns, especially in the fall. A headline like, "Buckeyes on a Roll" would not be obvious which team it was about and you would have to skim the column. On Sundays there would be multiple columns about both the baseball and football teams. 

"Blues" is the nickname of an NHL team. If this were New Orleans I could see it, but Cleveland has no particular connection to the blues that I'm aware of. I suppose it could refer to the uniform color, like the Cincinnati Red Stockings or the Boston Red Sox. I suppose Blues wouldn't be the worst choice, especially since we already have the Browns. 

"Commodores" is not bad but it reminds me of "Cavaliers". It falls in the same category as "Generals" and "Captains". It's alliterative but do we really want to go with the military option? 

A lot of teams are named after predatory animals. I could see "Cougars" as a possibility. It's a predatory American cat, it's not taken, and it's alliterative and not too long. 

A bluebird is a small, insignificant common bird. Definitely not in the same category as a hawk, falcon, or eagle. It's kind of a downsized version of a Cardinal or Blue Jay. I think we can do better. We wouldn't consider "Sparrows" or "Wrens", right? So why is Bluebirds the best choice. 

I say there's no point in using a bad nickname just because it was used briefly in the past. 

A lot of nicknames have nothing to do with history or the location. Chicago Bulls. Atlanta Hawks. How about a force of nature, like the Seattle Storm or the Alabama Crimson Tide?

Here's a thought - the Cleveland Thunderbolts. The thunderbolt, of course, was a weapon of the gods. 

"Zeus's Lightning Bolt (a.k.a. Thunderbolt, a.k.a. Master bolt) is the signature weapon and symbol of power for the Olympian god of thunder; Zeus. It is said to be the most powerful and feared weapon on Earth and in the Heavens."

When blogging and in headlines they could be referred to as the Bolts. Short and sweet. They should be able to come up with a pretty cool logo, too. 

 

 


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The Prosecutor
(@pros)
Rookie League baller
Joined: 4 months ago
Posts: 27
07/05/2020 9:12 am  
Posted by: @willhoo99

I'll say more about this at some point. But, frankly, I have reached a point of not caring how it plays out. I'll support the team if they change the name to the River City Swamp Rats... it's more NE Ohio pride and association/tradition.

I know some have suggested simply changing it to the Tribe which is an obvious variation (to some) of the name already in use and the nickname many affectionately use.

My hope in all of this is simply that they keep a similar color scheme. That will make a difference for me, but not entirely.

The history of the Indians organization -name controversy aside- isn't one racism. Truth is, this org has been on the forefront and been a trail blazer... THINK: Larry Doby and Frank Robinson the 1st African American player in the AL and the 1st Afican American Mgr.

I'm all in for the Swamp Rats but I think there's no chance. Besides, we don't have swamps. How about the Pier Rats? 


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Akronrick
(@akronrick)
Draft Prospect
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Posts: 2
07/05/2020 4:43 pm  

Only rats associated with Cleveland were the Modells. How about the Cleveland Chaps in honor of the only Cleveland player that gave his life..literally...to the ballclub, Ray Chapman.


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Edible14
(@edible14)
Draft Prospect
Joined: 2 months ago
Posts: 21
07/05/2020 11:36 pm  
Posted by: @pros
Posted by: @edible14

The Spiders are sort of the obvious choice, and would be the favorite. Baseball loves reusing old names like they've used the Senators twice, Nationals twice, Orioles thrice and Brewers twice. 

I would submit that a really interesting choice would be the Buckeyes. Go with the Cleveland Negro League team name, as a way of turning the controversy entirely upside down. It would be a way of telling the history of the game.

Blues, Bluebirds, Lake Shores, Naps would all be okay as previously used names. Not exciting but not the worst.

Cleveland Rockers trended on twitter for a bit and that should be a hard pass. Not because of the old WNBA team, but because Cleveland already overdoes the Rock Hall thing. People were saying that when the ASG logo was unveiled. 

Buzzards was also floated and I don't hate that as much.

No to Spiders. It's an insect. If the team hadn't been referred to as the Spiders over 100 years ago for a brief time nobody would even think of it, much less suggest it. By the way, if Spiders was such a great name, why didn't it last very long?

 

1) Arachnid, not insect 

2) The Spiders were an NL team, they folded in 1899 after the team was bought by the same owner who owned the St Louis Browns, who traded all the best players to St. Louis (including Cy Young and 2 other guys who would later be hall of famers). The team folded because of something that obviously should not have been allowed to happen (and has since been banned). The team was so famously awful that teams wouldn't play them here as the attendance was so low, so they ended up playing just 42 home games. They went 20-134, including losing 101 on the road. 

The AL team avoided taking on the name because there was an obvious need for a fresh start after the Spiders became infamous. It's been 121 years though, I think it's safe to say we don't need to worry about that failure haunting the team since apparently folks like you aren't aware of it. 


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The Prosecutor
(@pros)
Rookie League baller
Joined: 4 months ago
Posts: 27
07/06/2020 9:26 am  

If that Cleveland Spiders National League team had been known as the Cleveland Blues would anybody be suggesting Spiders as a nickname now? My point is don't repeat a mistake. It was a bad nickname in 1899 and it's bad now. 

If we're going to have a nickname that involves something that crawls on the floor why not borrow "Scarabs" from East Tech High School? The scarab is a beetle that was sacred to the ancient Egyptians. The name sounds pretty cool, but team detractors could easily modify it to "Scabs". 

No insects (or arachnids), please, but if we're going with something you can squash with your foot, let's at least go with something like Scarabs or Tarantulas. 


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Akronrick
(@akronrick)
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07/06/2020 9:59 pm  

Actually one of the coolest ones I've heard is Cleveland Force. Was used many years ago by an indoor soccer team but that shouldn't be a problem now. Of course a couple cops might be offended by "Force".


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The Prosecutor
(@pros)
Rookie League baller
Joined: 4 months ago
Posts: 27
07/08/2020 9:31 am  

Last year three market research companies teamed up to survey 500 Native Americans to see how they felt about the name "Redskins". The results are detailed here:

https://www.wolvereye.com/skin-in-the-name

Surprisingly, the emotion named by the highest percentage of respondents (38%) was "proud". Of the top nine emotions cited, seven were either positive or neutral. The other two were "annoyed" and "disappointed". 

Furthermore, in order to draw comparisons, we tested various other Native American themed teams including the Atlanta Braves, Chicago Blackhawks, Cleveland Indians, and Kansas City Chiefs. While natives felt overall positive towards the name Redskins, every other team name analyzed outperformed the name Redskins in overall likability.

The most surprising finding was that more Native Americans in the survey preferred keeping the name "Redskins" to changing it to the non-offensive "Washington Warriors" which would allow the team to keep the Native American theme while dumping the offensive nickname. 

Terry Pluto notes that there is a large newspaper and website that serves several reservations called "Indian Country Today".

https://indiancountrytoday.com

If Native Americans refer to themselves as "Indians" and are not offended by the name, why change it? 

I suggest getting rid of Chief Wahoo (done) and putting up a statue of a Native American on horseback in full battle regalia at Progressive Field so that every person who enters sees a positive representation of Native Americans. Another idea would be a statue of an Indian on horseback in the act of putting an arrow into a bison at close range to illustrate the extraordinary courage of these people. 

Maybe they could also have a video exhibit for kids that reflects positively on Native Americans. IOW, keep the name, drop the cartoon chief, and add positive representations that make it clear the name honors the people. 

 

 

This post was modified 4 weeks ago by The Prosecutor

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Edible14
(@edible14)
Draft Prospect
Joined: 2 months ago
Posts: 21
07/09/2020 12:24 am  

Your plan would be to graft onto the name some symbology to honor natives. I would counter that this is simply putting wrapping paper over rotted garbage. The name was poisoned from the start. The first Plain Dealer story on the change of the name encouraged fans to yell gibberish meant to sound like Indian yells, complete with some crude drawings depicting natives as dumb.

It was never intended to honor Indigenous folk. There's not even a mention of Louis Sockalexis in connection until the 40s, right around the time the same paper starts with some really crude drawings that would eventually become Wahoo. 

Whether it's a majority of natives or not (and there's flaws in that study, namely that the only criteria for being included as is simply self identifying as Indigenous/native, and there are a lot of white people who claim to be 1/16 or whatever Cherokee that don't know a damn thing about native issues), the people who are hurt by it matter. The people who have come to protest matter. You can honor Indigenous folks any number of ways, and it doesn't have to be an inaccurate team name.

Not surprisingly, if you poll people who actually engage in tribal practices, the poll results look a lot different:

https://record.umich.edu/articles/study-opposition-high-to-native-american-mascots-names/


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The Prosecutor
(@pros)
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Joined: 4 months ago
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07/09/2020 8:06 am  

@edible14

On one side, native people and organizations such as the National Congress of American Indians openly oppose and protest the use of native mascots.

OK, but we don't have a native mascot, do we, unless you consider Slider a native American.

I'm inclined to believe the National Congress of American Indians won't object too strongly to the use of the name "Indians". I doubt they consider it racist or derogatory.

...among Native Americans who frequently engage in tribal or cultural practices, 67 percent find the Redskins team name offensive; 70 percent find sports fans wearing chief headdresses offensive; 65 percent find sports fans chanting the tomahawk chop offensive; and 73 percent find sports fans imitating Native American dances offensive.

I haven't seen any of that at Indians' games, have you? Maybe the Florida State fans will have to give up their beloved tomahawk chop, but all we have in Cleveland is a big, goofy, furry creature running around. 

When the team has a rally going they play the bugle "charge", not some kind of war cry. In fact, now that Chief Wahoo is gone there is nothing that has anything to do with Indians except the name on the jersey. 

The psychological research is clear — the use of native mascots is detrimental for native people, said study co-author Arianne Eason

Are we talking about mascots like the former Atlanta Braves mascot Chief Nokahoma, who would dance around his tepee after a Braves home run, or are we talking about team names like "Chiefs", "Braves", and "Indians"? The column isn't clear, but the things that were found to be "offensive" were: the Redskins name, fans wearing headresses and imitating native dances, and the tomahawk chop. You don't see any of that at an Indians game, or anything resembling it. 

Is the name Indians offensive or psychologically detrimental? If it is, then the National Congress of American Indians needs to change its name, along with the Indian Country Today web site. 

This post was modified 4 weeks ago by The Prosecutor

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Willie Hood
(@willhoo99)
Member Moderator
Joined: 4 months ago
Posts: 94
07/25/2020 11:08 am  

I've debated writing a piece for the site for weeks now. My wife and children are registered Native American Indians. I myself am more Scottish/Irish than anything though my great grandmother was 100% Cherokee my Ancestory.com certainly didn't show it, lol. Several years ago speaking with a now-deceased uncle (my wife's side of the family) that was a registered Native American Indian provided some valuable and telling insight for me.

To quote him on the Indians use of the name, "I think it's a good thing to remember the heritage of our people. We've essentially been eradicated as we've never existed altogether."

There's a lot that can be gathered from that, but there's still more to say.

When I asked his thoughts on Chief Wahoo... "It's just a cartoon character, what's the big deal?"

He added, "It's intended to be fun, not harmful."

"We (speaking of the tribal council) are more concerned about unemployment and addiction than sports teams."

This is a small snippet of meaningful conversation. It was refreshing to hear his comments and frankly, the entire conversation was spurred by the Nike pullover I wore that day with Chief Wahoo on the left sleeve.

All of this said I'll support the team's efforts to change the name or whatever direction they take. Including Native American Indians in the discussions is ideal instead of ascribing a voice. Let's hear what Native American Indians groups have to say. The organization has begun engaging that dynamic with local groups.

There is a path forward which may mean keeping the name or changing it slightly (Tribe) with dignity, history, tradition, and respect for all involved.

Here is an intriguing article:

https://news.sportslogos.net/2020/07/19/authenticity-collaboration-respect-the-story-behind-the-spokane-indians/


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