It’s official. The team formerly known as the Cleveland Indians have a new name. Beginning next season, they will be known as the Cleveland Guardians. This comes after long controversy over the former name and after a decision in 2020, related to the civil unrest that unfolded, to change the long-standing name. In a remarkably short amount of time, the Cleveland baseball team has decided on the Guardians as its new name.
This move comes really quickly after the initial decision to change the name. Considering the Washington Football Team decided recently to move on from the old Redskins moniker and still hasn’t yet decided on a new name, Cleveland definitely moved quickly. The Indians, after the 2021 season finishes, will be no more. Enter: The Cleveland Guardians.
The Indians’ name has been mired in controversy for some time now. The same thing happened to the Washington Football Team. Many have been calling for the changing of offensive team names for some time now. This includes the Chicago Blackhawks, the Kansas City Chiefs, the Atlanta Braves, and a few others. Slowly but surely, progress is being made in the name of changing these team names. With the Indians and Redskins officially no more (post-2021 season), the list grows shorter.
This move has been met with some controversy. Actually, quite a bit of controversy. Many have pointed out that these names have existed for sometimes hundreds of years. Others point out that they were offensive even then. While that debate is far from over, the search for a new team name in Cleveland is. Personal feelings aside, the Guardians are the team moving forward and the Indians will cease to exist.
As soon as the announcement was made that owner Paul Dolan had decided to remove the Indians name, it was met with backlash. For many, this is seen as a removal of history. A rewrite of history, for some. Even now, as the official Guardians’ name and logos are announced, backlash ensued. What’s done is done, though.
The Guardians’ name was chosen based on the iconic “Guardians of Traffic” statue featured prominently in Cleveland. These statues have stood on Hope Memorial Bridge in front of Progressive Field for over 40 years. These statues symbolize progress- exactly what is happening here.
They were never Indians
The removal of offensive names was met with severe backlash each time. Many are frustrated because they see these names as honoring to the people they supposedly represent. However, that has largely been proven untrue. Additionally, that case cannot be made for the Cleveland Indians. The Native Americans this name was supposedly meant to honor have not and never will be Indians.
The term, which is derogatory, does not describe any group of Native Americans. Let me be abundantly clear: Indians are people from the country of India. That does not and will not ever describe people who have lived their entire lives in North America. Redskins was always a term used to describe these people (offensively, I might add), but Indians is not only offensive but completely inaccurate. Indians are from India, not North America.
The name Guardians hasn’t been met with the most positive reception. While a lot of that is due to the outrage that an offensive name has been removed after so long, there’s a little disappointment that the decision wasn’t something else. There were several names and of course, everyone has their idea. Still, Guardians is the final decision. Moreover, I happen to think that’s a pretty cool name.
The Cleveland Guardians and their new logos (which are pretty cool, too) are here to stay. Staying at Progressive Field, it’s fitting that the team is finally making progress.