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Report: Cleveland Indians to change team name

The Cleveland Indians baseball team has decided to change its name, after being told for years by Native American groups that the moniker is racially insensitive, three people familiar with the decision told The New York Times on Sunday.

Cleveland could announce the move this week, the Times reports, with one person saying the name and uniforms will likely stay in place through the 2021 season, before transitioning as early as 2022. The team, which has been known as the Indians since 1915, is contemplating going forward without a name and working with the public to come up with a replacement.

That's what NFL's Washington Football Team did earlier this year, after it dropped the "Redskins" name due to pressure from sponsors and the public. Cleveland recently began phasing out logos and imagery that showed the cartoon mascot Chief Wahoo, which many Native American groups said was an offensive caricature.

The Cleveland team has said the Indians name was meant to honor Louis Sockalexis, a former player who was a right-fielder for the Cleveland Spiders baseball team in the 1800s. Sockalexis was a member of the Penobscot Nation, and the Times reports some people have suggested the Cleveland team choose Spiders as its new name.