The Cleveland Indians could soon be known by a new name.
The team released a statement on Friday detailing that it was undergoing the process of considering a name change amid a growing national movement to address systemic racism. The statement noted that the team was committed to making a positive impact in the community, and said that they “embrace our responsibility to advance social justice and equality.”
In a statement posted to Twitter, the Cleveland Indians said they recognize that the team name itself is one of the most visible ways it connects with the community, and would be working with community and stakeholders to determine whether the name will remain the same.
“We have had ongoing discussions organizationally on these issue,” the statement read.
“The recent social unrest in our community and our country has only underscored the need for us to keep improving as an organization on issues of social justice. With that in mind, we are committed to engaging our community and appropriate stakeholders to determine the best path forward with regard to our team name.”
The move comes amid growing pressure on the NFL’s Washington Redskins to change a name that has long been seen, by some, as offensive. There has been new and growing pressure on the Redskins this week, including a letter from FedEx calling on the team to explore a name change. The company owns the naming rights to the stadium where the Redskins play.
On Thursday, sports apparel giant Nike added to the pressure by removing all products related to the Washington Redskins from its website. The following day, the Redskins released a statement saying the organization would be examining whether a name change would be appropriate.
There have been reports that the team will be moving forward with a name change, but it was not clear yet if it would continue the Native American theme or select an entirely new one. Many had advocated for the team to be known as the Washington Warriors, using an alternative jersey design that featured a spear.
The Indians did not face the same amount of pressure as the Redskins, but Native American advocacy groups had long targeted the baseball team and called on it to change both its name and logo.
As The Hill noted, the Cleveland Indians have already wrestled with the image surrounding its name and logo. Activists have long targeted what was seen, by some, as an offensive caricature of a Native American known as Chief Wahoo. The team removed the picture as its primary logo in 2013 and got rid of it entirely before the 2019 season, the report noted.