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Cleveland Guardians settle lawsuit with roller derby team, will keep name

Cleveland Guardians settle lawsuit with roller derby team, will keep name
The Cleveland Indians, who will be known as the Cleveland Guardians in 2022, recently removed old signage from Progressive Field in Cleveland. File Photo by Aaron Josefczyk/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 16 (UPI) -- The Cleveland Guardians baseball team, still known this year as the Indians, settled a lawsuit with a local roller derby team for the rights to use the name Guardians, the parties announced Tuesday in a joint statement.

"The Cleveland Guardians Baseball Co. LLC and Guardians Roller Derby are pleased to announce an amicable resolution of the lawsuit filed by Guardians Roller Derby, whereby both organizations will continue to use the Guardians name," the teams said.

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The Cleveland Guardians roller derby team, formed in 2013, filed a federal lawsuit against the baseball team in October to block the MLB team's name change and become the Guardians.

The roller derby team alleged the team's assumption of the Guardians name by the baseball team caused "confusion" and was "destroying" its trademark rights.

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The roller derby team said its was willing to sell the rights, but the MLB franchise "only offered to pay a nominal amount" and the offer was rejected.

The MLB franchise said at the time that it did not believe there was "conflict between the parties and their ability to operate in their respective business areas." No financial terms of Tuesday's agreement were disclosed.

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The Indians announced in July that they will change their name to the Guardians, starting in 2022.

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The franchise faced repeated pressure from Native American groups and others to drop the nickname, which some considered racist. In 2018, it stopped using longtime mascot and logo "Chief Wahoo," which MLB called "no longer appropriate."

The Indians assumed their name in 1915. They played their first season in 1901 as the Cleveland Blues and were later named the Bronchos and Naps.

The Guardians roller derby team is based in Parma, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland, located less than 10 miles south of downtown.

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