The Cleveland Indians followed in the footsteps of what is currently known as the Washington Football Team by announcing in December they were beginning the process of changing their name seen by some Native American groups and other fans as racist.
In total, Cleveland has narrowed the list of potential names from 1,198 candidates, none of which have any association with Native American culture. The franchise has already completed 140 hours worth of conversations with fans, community leaders, and staff members about a new name, and also surveyed over 40,000 individuals. It’s unknown how many names will be on a final list for consideration.
All names and potential logos are being vetted for legal purposes.
“We’ve engaged our fans and community on many aspects of our team name process,” Cleveland vice president of communications and community impact Curtis Danburg said in a prepared statement. “We felt it was important to share our research journey and what we’ve learned so far.”
It’s believed the Washington Football Team name could stay through at least the 2021 NFL season, but it’s been speculated Cleveland will not choose something similar for the baseball club. John Rizzardini of FiveThirtyEight recently touched upon why such a rebrand can take up to two years to complete.