“We are thrilled to usher in the next era in baseball’s profound history in Cleveland,” said team owner and president Paul Dolan in a press release. “Cleveland has always been the most important part of who we are. Therefore, we wanted a name that strongly represents the pride, resilience and loyalty of the Clevelanders.”
The Cleveland club will keep its colors, he said. He will hold a press conference at 2 p.m. ET to detail the name change.
First Secretary to the Native American Cabinet says move “welcome and necessary”
Home Secretary Deb Haaland, the First Secretary to the Native American Cabinet, called it a “welcome and necessary change.”
A prominent Native American activist also praised the club’s decision on Friday.
“This is an important step towards redressing the wrongs committed against indigenous peoples and a step towards justice,” Echo Hawk said in a statement.
Echo Hawk renewed its call for other sports teams with names evoking Native Americans to follow suit.
How the Guardians Were Chosen
The team interviewed 40,000 fans; conducted 140 hours of interviews with fans, community leaders and staff; and looked at over 1,190 names before choosing Guardians, he said.
“’Guardians’ reflects these defining attributes while taking inspiration from the iconic Guardians of Traffic just outside of Hope Memorial Bridge stadium,” Dolan said in the team’s press release. “It brings to life the pride the Clevelanders have in our city and the way we fight together for all who choose to be part of the Cleveland baseball family.
“While ‘Indians’ will always be a part of our history, our new name will help unify our fans and our city as we are all Cleveland Guardians.”
CNN’s Terence Burlij, Nicquel Terry Ellis, Gregory Wallace and David Close contributed to this report.