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MLB's Cleveland to drop 'Indians' name after 2021 season

Major League Baseball's (MLB) Cleveland team will drop its 'Indians' name, following criticism of its offensiveness to Native Americans.

The announcement stated that the name will still be used throughout the 2021 season but will be dropped upon its conclusion.

A new, non-Native American based name will be devised after 105 years of including the term.

“Hearing firsthand the stories and experiences of Native American people, we gained a deep understanding of how tribal communities feel about the team name and the detrimental effects it has on them,” team owner Paul Dolan said in a statement.

Similarly, the National Football League's (NFL) franchise Washington, dropped their 'Redskins' name in July after racial inequality in the United States was put under the spotlight, following the tragic death of George Floyd to a police officer.

“Today’s announcement represents a monumental step forward in Indian Country’s decades-long effort to educate America about what respect for tribal nations, cultures, and communities entails,” National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) President Fawn Sharp said in a statement.

Elsewhere in the US, teams including the Chicago Blackhawks from the National Hockey League (NHL) and MLB's Atlanta Braves have stated that they do not intend on dropping their names which have been signalled as including offensive terms.

The Cleveland Indigenous Coalition, who is supporting the teams transition, said: "For six decades our community has fought tirelessly to be recognised as diverse and vibrant, instead of portrayed in inaccurate and harmful ways.

“By agreeing to change the team name away from Indigenous themes, the Cleveland baseball team is helping to create a place where Native American children and their families feel valued and fully seen.”

Native American names and mascots can be seen frequently within sport across the US, which has and will continue to draw criticism from those who are standing up for social change.

Author: Jake Wilkin