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Cleveland Indians to drop controversial team nickname

Cleveland Indians to drop controversial team nickname
In 2018, Cleveland announced it was dropping its former mascot and team logo, a cartoon image known as "Chief Wahoo," after MLB said it was inappropriate. File Photo by Trask Smith/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 13 (UPI) -- The Cleveland Indians, who have used that team name for more than a century, are dropping their controversial nickname and Native American branding.

League sources told the New York Times, ESPN and Cleveland.com on Sunday night that Cleveland is expected to announce its intention to move on from the nickname this week. According to the outlets, the team is planning to keep the same name and uniforms for the upcoming season before phasing them out in 2022.

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A new nickname for Cleveland has yet to be decided. According to the Times, the MLB club is considering moving forward without a permanent replacement name.

The Washington Football Team followed a similar path this past summer. The NFL club dropped its longtime nickname and Native American imagery prior to the 2020 season, with Washington playing as "The Football Team" until a new name is selected.

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Cleveland has gone by the "Indians" moniker since 1915, but the organization has repeatedly faced pressure from Native American groups to drop the nickname that has long been criticized as racist and demeaning.

In 2018, the club announced it was dropping its mascot and team logo, a cartoon image known as "Chief Wahoo," after the league said it was "no longer appropriate." Cleveland spent much of that year before the 2019 campaign phasing out the "Chief Wahoo" imagery.

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Cleveland has played more than 17,000 games under its nickname and won two World Series championships, with the last coming in 1948. The club's 72-year title drought currently is the longest in baseball.

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The MLB's Atlanta Braves, the NFL's Kansas City Chiefs and the Chicago Blackhawks of the NHL are other prominent professional teams that still use Native American imagery in their names and logos.

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