Terry Francona believes Cleveland’s baseball team is trying to “do the right thing” by dropping the name Indians after 105 years.
“I am proud of the fact that we are going to do something that is correct,” Francona told reporters Friday.
The former Red Sox manager Francona, who currently manages the Indians, made it clear that Monday’s decision doesn’t mean the organization will shy away from its history.
Francona said it’s imperative that people remain proud of the first name of the team and have Cleveland pride. He said no one was ever trying to be disrespectful with the name Indians, but that “wasn’t a good enough answer anymore.”
“That’s not the idea behind this,” Francona said. “I just think by simply saying, ‘Hey, we’ve always done it this way, so we’ll just continue to.’ Shoot, if we did that, Jackie Robinson may have never played in the game of baseball.”
Francona said the social movement across the country has helped him better grasp the need for change. He added that 2020 has been “an epiphany” for a lot of people and that it has likely made many step back and rethink things they’ve realized they shouldn’t take for granted.
He said he’s received lots of mail on the subject – some in favor of the change and some against it – and he appreciates the thoughtfulness behind many of the letters.
“I just don’t ever want it to get lost, we’re not trying to be disrespectful to anybody, believe me,” he conveyed to reporters. “We’re trying to be the opposite, and that’s being respectful.”
— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) December 14, 2020
The team will reportedly remain the Cleveland Indians through at least the 2021 season and will not adopt an interim name until a new one is chosen. While many fans call the team the “Tribe,” that reportedly isn’t an option going forward because the club prefers to step away from anything with a Native American connotation.
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