INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Indianapolis Indians, the Triple A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates, said Tuesday it will form a committee to consider changing the team’s longtime name.
Team officials issued a two-paragraph statement that said the name is derived from Indiana, which translates to “land of the Indians,” and Indianapolis, which the team said translates to “city of Indians.”
“We understand that our team name has not been endorsed by some but trust they understand the historic and respectful context in which it has been used over the years,” the statement read. “We are committed to engage, listen and exchange ideas.”
The team has played in Indianapolis since 1902. Team officials said they will gather input from the community.
The movement away from Native American nicknames, mascots and logos began in earnest when the NCAA announced in August 2005 that it would ban the use of any images and names deemed racially or ethnically “hostile” or “abusive” from postseason tournaments. It has gained steam in recent months with the push for social justice reform in America.
The NFL’s Washington franchise has announced it will drop its longtime name “Redskins” and Major League Baseball’s Cleveland Indians also have said they are considering a name change.
Indianapolis Indians officials will have plenty of time to debate the issue after the entire minor-league season was cancelled in late June because of the coronavirus pandemic.