CLEVELAND, Ohio – When it comes to the Cleveland Indians and their search for a new name, the lid is on tight with an elephant sitting on top. Lips are sealed with Super Glue.
No one wants to say a word.
That includes some executives from other pro sports teams when I contacted them about the Tribe’s search for a new name. None wanted to be quoted.
Nonetheless, I’ve heard the team is “making progress” toward a new name. The goal is to have it done in plenty of time for the 2022 season.
But as executives from other teams told me, the process is difficult – especially for a team that has been called the Cleveland Indians for 106 years.
It’s believed this pro sports name change is the only one after a franchise has had the same nickname in the same city for more than a century. As I was told, this makes it even harder for the team because the name has so much history and emotional attachment for the fans.
And even if some fans favor the name change because “Indians” is considered a racist and derogatory term, those same people may not embrace the new name.
Furthermore, the trademark issues are huge. Liking a name isn’t enough; getting permission and cutting a deal to use the name can be a complicated task.
As a Tribe official told me months ago, “We can’t do this again…