Cleveland Indians owner Paul Dolan plans to “engage Native American leaders” regarding a potential name change, according to an update he provided to media this morning.
As I explained to our players, I am invested in engaging our community and appropriate stakeholders to help determine the best path forward with regard to our team name. In the coming weeks, we will engage Native American leaders to better understand their perspectives, meet with local civic leaders, and continue to listen to the perceptions of our players, fans, partners and employees
He also went on to say that they “feel a real sense of urgency to discuss these perspectives with key stakeholders while also taking the time needed to ensure those conversations are inclusive and meaningful.”
Dolan’s update comes after he met with Indians players and coaches last week to discuss the name change and other equality issues. Details of that meeting were not disclosed, only that players are passionate about social justice and racial equity.
Earlier this week, I had a candid and productive meeting with Terry [Francona] and our players, where they expressed their desire to help our organization in this process. Our players care about the organization and feel strongly about social justice and racial equality. I support their interest in using their platform to unite our city and our nation through their actions.
If Paul Dolan is serious about having these conversation, and more importantly serious about doing so with urgency, it’s at least another step in the right direction.
Alex Hooper at Cleveland Baseball Insider spoke with Native American leaders when the Indians took their first tepid step towards admitting they need to change their name earlier this month. One of the big takeaways from Hooper’s discussions was that Native Americans do want to be involved in moving away from the Indians moniker. Without their involvement and some kind of acknowledgement of the pain that the name and former logo have caused would be “complete erasure.”
These are discussions that Dolan and Indians executives should have had in earnest a long time ago, but the fact that they are at least happening now is encouraging.