cleveland indians Frammil Reyes
© Reuters / USA TODAY Sports / David Richard
Cleveland Indians designated hitter Franmil Reyes celebrates his three-run home run in the third inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Progressive Field, Cleveland, Ohio.
Cleveland's baseball team has changed its name from the Indians to the Guardians. Critics have long called the old name racist, but the rebrand is now dividing fans.

The team announced the change on Friday, releasing a slick video in which actor Tom Hanks declares "we are all Guardians." The name itself is a reference to a pair of Art Deco statues located on the Lorain-Carnegie Bridge between downtown Cleveland and the Ohio City neighborhood, known as the Guardians of Traffic.


The team went by the name Indians since 1915, supposedly in honor of Native American outfielder Louis Sockalexis, who played in Cleveland in the late 1900s. However, activists in recent years called for a name change, arguing that the name Indians was offensive to Native Americans.

The team dropped its mascot - the red-skinned Chief Wahoo - in 2018, but activists said the change was "not enough." Two years later, team owner Paul Dolan said the team's name would also be changed to something that would "better unify the community."

Even before the new name was announced, conservative sports fans questioned the move. Former president Donald Trump said at the time that the rebrand represented "cancel culture at work," and was "not good news, even for 'Indians.'"

Some fans grumbled about the new name, with one commenter accusing the team of caving "to the social media libs," and another calling it "the most generic name they could come up with."




However, the award for "most generic name they could come up with" probably should go to the football team formerly known as the Washington Redskins. Under similar pressure from woke activists, the Redskins rebranded themselves last summer as Washington Football Team. The uninspired name is a placeholder, and a shortlist of more exciting names was released this year, including the Icons, Renegades, and Demon Cats - none of which have appeased fans.