LAST UPDATED ON 2021-07-23 10:17:49

Cleveland Indians announce 'Guardians' as new team nickname

By Mitch Spinell

CLEVELAND, Ohio - The Cleveland Indians will now be known as the Cleveland Guardians.

The franchise released a video (narrated by Tom Hanks) to social media Friday morning to announce the new nickname, after the club had announced back in December 2020 they would be replacing the longtime 'Indians' name after years of protests from those who considered the name offensive towards Native American groups.

The 'Guardians' image and moniker have become popular in the Cleveland area in recent years, stemming from the 'Guardians of Transportation' sculptures found on the Hope Memorial Bridge that runs from downtown Cleveland to Ohio City across the Cuyahoga River. Prominent artwork, clothing, and even the Cleveland Cavaliers' 2017 'City Edition' uniforms include the statues.

The club will still use the 'Indians' nickname through the remainder of the 2021 season, then begin the change process for Progressive Field and their Goodyear, Arizona spring training facilities, as well as team merchandise and imagery.

The franchise had been working through the last year in finding new potential names as a replacement for a moniker that had stood since 1915. After the name change of the Washington Football Team during the summer of 2020, Cleveland followed a few months after with their own announcement of a to-be-determined name, with manager Terry Francona and owner Paul Dolan among those welcoming the change.

"I think it's time to move forward," Francona said during a press conference last June. "Even at my age, you don't want to be too old to learn or realize that maybe I've been ignorant of some things and to be ashamed of it and to try to be better."

“The process of moving away from Indians is not going to be easy,” Dolan said back in December. “We understand it’s going to be difficult for a lot of people to make that adjustment. But I hope, over time, we embrace the process of reimagining our name. Hopefully, it will be a name the community can rally around, and we hope it has more than a 105-year life to it.”