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Cleveland Indians baseball team to change name: US media


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image captionFor years opponents have criticised the team name as racist

The Cleveland Indians baseball team plan to change their name after decades of criticism, US media report.

US President Donald Trump denounced the move, tweeting it was “cancel culture at work!”

In use since 1915, opponents have long said the name is racist and offensive to Native Americans.

The team announced a review of their name in July as racial justice protests convulsed the US following the death of George Floyd.

The 46-year-old died in May after a white police officer knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes.

Reports the Cleveland Indians would change their name came late on Sunday evening. The New York Times quoted people familiar with the decision who said the formal announcement could happen as soon as this week.

It is unclear when they will switch their name, or what will replace it, although one of the people told the newspaper it could happen as soon as 2022.

President Trump criticised the projected move. Retweeting a report about the name switch, he said it was “not good news, even for ‘Indians'”.

The term “cancel culture” is used when people or companies face a rapid public backlash or even boycott over statements or actions perceived by some to be offensive.

Protests over the Cleveland Indians’ name have, however, taken place for decades. Opponents have held demonstrations on the opening day of the baseball season every year since 1973, and protests grew in size in the 1990s – particularly when in the World Series in 1995 the team played the Atlanta Braves, another side critics say have an offensive name.

Last year the Cleveland Indians removed their former logo Chief Wahoo from their uniforms after announcing it was “no longer appropriate”. Critics said the symbol was offensive to Native Americans and perpetuated stereotypes.

Numerous companies and brands worldwide have announced changes in the wake of George Floyd’s killing.

The Washington Redskins, the American football team, announced they would retire their team name after sponsors threatened to pull funding. They are known now simply as the Washington Football Team, until another name is chosen.

Quaker Oats acknowledged in June that its Aunt Jemima brand was based on racial stereotypes and said it would rename the line.

And in September, Uncle Ben’s Rice said it would change its name and drop the image of a smiling black man from its packaging. It is expected the new branding will appear in shops from 2021.

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media captionSome brands have been accused of jumping on the Black Lives Matter bandwagon just to sell their products

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