As Major League Baseball's opening day approaches, the 2021 season appears as though it'll look a bit more like seasons we've seen in the past.
Commissioner Rob Manfred has informed teams that fans will be allowed in the stands this season, but each franchise must adhere to local health guidelines.
However, things will forever be different at Progressive Field, the home field of the Cleveland Indians. The team announced that fans will no longer be admitted if they are wearing "inappropriate dress" referencing Native American culture.
Fans will not be allowed into the stadium if they are wearing "headdresses and face paint styled in a way that references or appropriates American Indian cultures and traditions. Inappropriate or offensive images, words, dress or face paint must be covered or removed, and failure to do so may constitute grounds for ejection or refusal of admission."
The no-tolerance policy also involves abusive or inappropriate language or conduct deemed disorderly or disruptive and bans people from solicitation of contributions and distribution of literature at the stadium.
Hipster headdress/facepaint wearers, consider this picture before you dress next time. #Cleveland #Indians http://t.co/sueOzF9ve4— Carl Wilson (@Carl Wilson) 1396734890.0
Cleveland fans will still be permitted to wear clothing with its cartoonish, red-faced Chief Wahoo logo, although the team removed it from its uniforms two years ago.
Last December, it was revealed the team intends to change the Indians nickname it's had since 1915. It's believed that 2021 will be the team's final season as the Indians with a rebrand coming in 2022.
The team has been known as the Indians since 1915 when its name was changed to pay homage to a former Native American player, Louis Sockalexis, who played for the team in the late 1800s when it was known as The Spiders.
Cleveland's decision to phase out its association with Naive American imagery comes alongside the NFL's Washington Football Team, who announced before last season that they were rebranding the team and dropping the former "Redskins" moniker.
Hopefully, this decision ends the ugly, long-standing history of Opening Day showdowns between Cleveland fans and Native American activists.
Warning: The following video contains strong language.
Chief Wahoo fans hurl insults at Native Americans www.youtube.com
Recently, the team began asking its fans for their input regarding the new name. The questionnaire asks what type of qualities would they like to see in a new name (i.e., hard-working, loyal, inclusive). It also asks how closely the team's new name should be associated with the city of Cleveland and whether or not it should keep the current red, white, and blue color scheme and the "Block C" logo.
The Indians released the following statement to 3News:
"We can confirm that we sent a survey regarding the name change out to our fans. This fan-solicited feedback is just one portion of a multi-phase process that we vowed to take when we decided to embark on a new name in December. Future decisions will continue to take time due to the complexities of the process."
Last year, our partner site GOOD shared some of the most popular suggestions regarding a new team name for Cleveland.
Sports has a unique way of bringing people from all walks of life together. Let's hope that going forward, Cleveland chooses a name that reflects the times and respects other cultures while instilling a sense of loyalty and pride to its fans.
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