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Cleveland announces pool of nearly 1,200 options for team name change

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The Cleveland Indians are still searching for their next team name.

As it turns out, the organization has more than enough options to choose from.

The organization announced Thursday that it is working through nearly 1,200 different ideas for a new team name, something it committed to doing last year.

The team did not provide a specific timeline for the name change, but said that it would start vetting potential names, drafting logos and working through trademark and other legal issues after narrowing the list down. It’s unclear how big the second cut of potential names will be, but it’s safe to assume the list will be cut at least in half, if not even more.

“We’ve engaged our fans and community on many aspects of our team name process,” Indians’ vice president of communications and community impact Curtis Danburg said, via Cleveland.com. “We felt it was important to share our research journey and what we’ve learned so far.”

Cleveland committed to name change last year

The Indians announced in December that it would change its team name, but that it wouldn’t do so at least until the 2022 season. The club has held the name since 1915, but opted to change it after calls from fans, Native American groups and others.

The move came shortly after the Washington Football Team announced it was going to drop its longtime, racist nickname. The Canadian Football Team in Edmonton announced this week that it was dropping its old nickname and becoming the Elk instead after calls from indigenous groups.

Cleveland officially banned Native American headdresses and face paint at Progressive Field this season, and had already ditched the old Chief Wahoo logo from uniforms. The organization does still sell the logo on official merchandise.

“The organization has done many, many things to listen to people and to try to understand, which I think we’ve all said early on we needed to do,” manager Terry Francona said last year. “I think [team chairman and CEO] Paul Dolan came out early on and said he really wanted to listen. And that’s what the leaders in our organization did.

“We always said we didn’t ever want to be disrespectful. But I think we found in 2020 that just saying that wasn’t correct anymore. And so regardless of how we felt about it, what was really ultimately most important is how other people that it was affecting felt about it. So as an organization, we do what we always try to do, to do the right thing. I’m really proud of our organization for trying to do the right thing.”

The Cleveland Indians team logo
The Indians announced last year that they would change their team name by the 2022 season at the earliest. (Ron Schwane/Getty Images)

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