President Trump shared his thoughts about the Washington Redskins and Cleveland Indians possibly changing their names in light of the protests following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who was killed while in the custody of Minneapolis police last month.
“They name teams out of STRENGTH, not weakness, but now the Washington Redskins & Cleveland Indians, two fabled sports franchises, look like they are going to be changing their names in order to be politically correct. Indians, like Elizabeth Warren, must be very angry right now!” Trump wrote on Twitter.
On Friday, Cleveland’s MLB team announced that a name change may be happening soon.
The Indians, which were previously known as the Forest Citys, Spiders, Bluebirds, Bronchos, and Naps before adopting their current name in 1915, said they’ve been paying attention to changing times and may change along with them.
“We have had ongoing discussions organizationally on these issues,” the Indians said in a statement. “The recent social unrest in our community and our country has only underscored the need for us to keep improving as an organization on issues of social justice.”
The statement came about two years after the Indians removed their cartoonish “Chief Wahoo” logo from their uniforms -- and as the Black Lives Matter movement has recently helped put pressure on the Redskins to change their name as well.
Redskins owner Dan Snyder has long resisted calls to change the name the football team has used since the 1930s. However, recent criticism from corporate sponsors such as FedEx -- which paid the Redskins $205 million for naming rights to FedEx Field in Landover, Md. -- has Snyder promising to conduct a “thorough review” on the matter.
The Redskins also face the likelihood that Washington, D.C., officials will demand a name change if the team attempts to get a new stadium within the city limits after playing in the suburbs since 1997.
The Indians, meanwhile, said they’re committed to “engaging our community and appropriate stakeholders to determine the best path forward with regard to our team name.”
The Associated Press contributed to this story.