Commentary: Yes, Indians should change their nickname
Yes, of course, the Cleveland Indians should change their nickname.
There’s a non-racist reason why the Indians got that nickname, but that was 100 years ago, so it doesn’t matter now. That it offends people, especially those of Native American descent, is understandable, so it has to go.
It’s as simple as that.
I didn’t always think that way, and perhaps many of you didn’t, either, but I do now. It just makes sense. Moreover, it makes moral sense, which is the very best sense. Because if we’re going to cleanse this country the right way and treat people – all people, no matter their heritage – equally, as we should do and in fact obviously should have been doing all along, then this sports nickname issue is part of the process.
We’ve got some real issues in America right now – we’re not the country we need to be or want to be – so we don’t have time to worry about sports nicknames of any kind. Just do it and move on. And those people who don’t move on with it and want to stay anchored in the past, can do so to their heart’s content. When their circle keeps dwindling in numbers, they’ll come around. Nobody wants to be so completely out of the loop that they can’t even see the loop anymore.
That’s especially true in Cleveland, a racially diverse city from way back when it comes to sports, including with the Indians, who had the first African American player in the American League in Larry Doby, whose debut was 73 years ago last Sunday; and Frank Robinson, the first African American manager in baseball in 1975.
To do anything else – to fly in the face of that proud history of diversity – would be disrespectful to the memories of those two trailblazing Baseball Hall of Famers.
Cleveland isn’t losing its baseball team – heaven forbid. It’s just losing its team’s nickname.
And if the Indians – that’s what they will still be called this season – win their first World Series since 1948, Doby’s second year with the team, then no one is going to care about the nickname. It would be a way for the Indians nickname to be retired with a historic feat, which will make everyone happy.
There’s plenty of other names that can be tied to the club’s history or the history or the city or region. Have meetings about it involving people from all different ethnic backgrounds, and come up with something that appeases everyone and, more importantly, offends no one, except, of course, those who are stuck in the past and don’t like any change, or those who are just obstinate and disagreeable.