The Cleveland Baseball Club will play under the Indians name for 2021 but when it comes to a new name Tribe is not an option.
Cleveland Baseball Club owner Paul Dolan made a few statements in regards to a name change Monday. Dolan told the Associated Press that the team will play under the name “Indians” in 2021 among a few other things. Including that they do not have a new name, they won’t use an interim name, and that “Tribe” is not an option.
Let’s focus on that last part, the part about Tribe not being included as an option. This is a good thing. The name Tribe is too close to Indians and that really doesn’t solve anything, it’s really just a half-measure.
There was a time when a move to Tribe could have been accepted, but that time has passed. I previously used to be in the camp of people that wanted the team to pivot to Tribe, but that is all that it would be, a pivot. It is enough of a change that is needed in this situation.
The problem with the name Tribe is that it still welcomes some of the offensive imagery that they need to get away from. Tribe still welcomes people wearing headdresses, feathers, or the occasional person who decides that red-face is a good idea. A new name needs to clearly state that this type of imagery is unacceptable and that just is not accomplished by making what is an essentially a non-move with Tribe. There are some who will try to justify the name Tribe by using the literal definition of the word, but we all know what it would really mean. At the end of the day it is just too close to what they need to get away from.
The Cleveland Baseball Club has to make a clean break from what will be their former name and begin a new era that will not be surrounded by controversy. Eliminating the name Tribe from the running of new names is a great start for a new era in Cleveland.