CLEVELAND – Cleveland Manager Terry Francona will no longer dodge the issue. He believes that the Indians need to change their controversial nickname.
"I think it's time to move on," said Francona on Sunday.
Francona's comments came two days after the Indians, in the midst of a national movement to erase racially insensitive symbols, released a statement saying that the organization is "committed to involving our community and the appropriate stakeholders to determine the best way forward in regarding our team name ".
The team's announcement – an initial step towards a possible name change – came hours after the NFL. Washington Redskins said they will undergo a review of their name and logo. The Redskins announced their decision after several sponsors, including FedEx, which holds naming rights at the team's stadium, asked the franchise to change a nickname that was considered offensive for decades. Like Francona, Washington coach Ron Rivera asked his team to change its name.
During a call to Zoom after a morning workout for his team at Progressive Field, Francona said he would not put aside the subject of Cleveland's name or mascot. The team removed the highly debated Chief Wahoo logo from its gaming shirts and caps last year, and will now consider changing a nickname that has been in place since 1915.
"I was thinking about it and before we released that statement," he said. "I know that in the past, when I was asked, if it is our name or Chief Wahoo, I think he usually answered and said that I know that we are never trying to be disrespectful.
"And I still feel that way. But I don't think it's a good enough answer today. I think it's time to move on. It's a very difficult subject. It's also a delicate one."
Francona acknowledged his own mistakes at the trial. He doesn't want to be labeled as someone who can't adapt or change over time.
"Even at my age, you don't want to be too old to learn or realize that, maybe I have ignored some things, be ashamed of it and try to improve," said the 61-year-old, who guided the Boston Red Sox for two World Series titles. "I am happy that we are open to listening, because I think it is probably the most important thing at the moment, being willing to listen, not necessarily just talking."
Francona did not have an update in the external field Delino DeShields Jr., who tested positive for the coronavirus and cannot join the team before testing negative twice. On Friday, team president Chris Antonetti said that DeShields had only "minor symptoms". … Indians will start playing intrasquad scrimmages Thursday.