This past Thursday, the Cleveland Indians announced that they would be changing their name to the Guardians after this season.
The name change came as a response to the social justice movement begun after the George Floyd murder last May.
Since the news first broke that the “Indians” name would be dropped, over 1,200 suggestions for new names were sent to the team.
After the organization met with numerous community leaders, fans and front office personnel, the team decided on Guardians.
Introducing the Cleveland Guardians!
The name will go into effect after the 2021 season. pic.twitter.com/ggCFyIRD2y
— MLB (@MLB) July 23, 2021
At first, the choice evoked images of the Transformers franchise as well as other Marvel Universe titles.
The franchise acted quickly and clarified how the name came to be.
According to the organization, the name was inspired by the stone edifices which reside on both ends of the Hope Memorial Bridge that connects downtown to Ohio City.
The edifices are affectionately known as the traffic guardians.
Team owner Paul Dolan said the reason he chose to change the name of the franchise stemmed from last summer’s civil unrest.
“We do feel like we’re doing the right thing and that’s what’s driving this,” Dolan said. “I know some people disagree, but if anything I’ve gotten more and more comfortable that we’re headed in the right direction. And actually, the selection of the name solidifies that feeling because of the values that the name represents.”
Dolan also understands that there is a segment of the fan base that will be resistant to the change.
“I’m 63 years old, and they’ve been the Indians since I was aware of them, probably since I was 4 or 5 years old, so it will take a long time,” he said. “But we’re not asking anybody to give up their memories or the history of the franchise that will always be there. And for people my age and older, most our life is going to be living as an Indian and not as a Guardian.”
The name change was met with appreciation from various Native American groups.
“It is a major step toward righting the wrongs committed against Native peoples and is one step toward justice,” said Crystal Echo Hawk, executive director and founder of IllumiNative, a group dedicated to fighting misrepresentations of Native Americans.
Carly Teller’s Interpretation
Not long after the announcement, Browns starting guard Wyatt Teller‘s wife, Carly, tweeted a picture of her husband and fellow Cleveland guard Joel Bitonio.
The caption above the picture simply reads “The Cleveland Guardians.”
The post was immediately praised by followers of her account.
The Cleveland Guardians pic.twitter.com/ezCWy2G6CJ
— Carly Whiting Teller (@carlyteller) July 24, 2021
To the uninitiated, both Wyatt Teller and Bitonio play the guard position for the Browns.
Offensive linemen are called on to protect their offensive play makers, especially the quarterback.
In this case, both Teller and Bitonio ‘guard’ franchise signal caller Baker Mayfield.
While the tweet is a sweet gesture made by the wife of a literal Cleveland guard, it might be possible to misconstrue the photo.
In the picture, both Teller and Bitonio are kneeling.
At first glance (and if a viewer didn’t know who the players were) one may think that Mrs. Teller is protesting the name change of the Cleveland baseball team.
Ever since the Colin Kaepernick protests of 2016, people throughout the world have reacted negatively to the kneeling stance taken by players.
In particular, the stance is seen as a protest for a cause the athlete is trying to call attention to.
Kaepernick and other athletes have kneeled as a sign of protest to social injustices in America.
These injustices are what led Dolan to change the name of Cleveland’s baseball team.
For many, kneeling elicits a visceral reaction in direct opposition to the cause the athlete is protesting as well as opposition to the athlete.
However, it is safe to assume that this is not what Carly Teller meant by her tweet.
It is clear that she posted a tongue-in-cheek response to the new name as it relates to her husband’s position.
Wyatt Teller will start his third year with the Browns in 2021.
He was a Second-team All-Pro last season.
Tom Wachowicz says
I’m sure she meant no harm in both of kneeling!!! After busting their asses in practice just taking a break!!! Long, long time ago when I played high school football we used to do that for crying out loud!!! If people are offended by it take a chill pill!!!
[email protected] says
Did they get approval from the Guardians of the Galaxy to use their name? After the court battle and millions of dollars wasted…..baseball team will have to advertise as the “Traffic Guardians”……..
Ben Donahue says
I did wonder initially if they were using a Marvel style name. But after reading the reason for the name selection it is a pretty cool nod to local history.
Tom Klosky says
It was high time to change, Guardians is ok, would’ve preferred GHOULARDIANS !!!
Bruce Ramsey says
Don’t try and connect the Indians name change to Black Lives Matter. The name change goes back years to when High Schools and Colleges started changing their mascots name. LETS BE CLEAR ON THAT. For the record I’m 25% Cherokee but once the toothy cartoon face was removed, I had no problem with the name.
Timothy Alphabet says
Players kneel during camps, practice and even games. If you played football at any level you surely heard your coach say “Take a knee”. It is also customary to kneel on the field when a player is hurt. It IS NOT customary, however, to kneel during the national anthem of the greatest country on earth. This picture has nothing to do with that. Mrs. Teller is awesome for posting this. I hope Wyatt get’s the contract extension he deserves.
This is a crime. The name Indians was in honor of the first native American who played for the Cleveland baseball franchise.
Get your ” Way Back” machine out and look up the history.
Cleveland has done nothing but give in to this leftist movement.
They now have dishonored the player that the team was named after.
The name Guaurdians offend me so now we need to change the name again.
When does the insanity stop?
Ben Donahue says
Regarding the Indians being named after Louis Sockalexis or Nap Lajoie, this is an excerpt from MLB.com about the name origin:
“While the tale often has been told that because Sockalexis died in 1913, the team was named the Indians in his honor, but that is unlikely. His years with the Spiders coincided with the club’s decline, and his departure from the team was not the most positive. His stardom in Cleveland was not the same as Lajoie’s, which made it less likely that the team would’ve been named after him.
There are old newspaper records that show that the baseball writers were left to vote on a name and had decided on Indians. In 1914, the Boston Braves had won the World Series, which could leave some to wonder if the name for Cleveland — the last-place team that season — was inspired by one that experienced great success.
Either way, records have indicated that the Indians name was not intended to be a long-term choice. But after undergoing a handful of different team names over the previous 15 years (and after the team won the World Series in 1920), the moniker ended up sticking for the next 105 years.”
Tony howe says
One of the dumbest business moves you could have made