CLEVELAND – For their delayed home opener, the Indians elected to wear their blue road jerseys with “Cleveland” on the front as a unified statement of solidarity for minorities as the team contemplates a name change.
Owner Paul Dolan recently announced the franchise is considering changing its name from Indians, which has been the club's moniker since 1915. Typically, the team wears white jerseys with “Indians” across the chest at home.
All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor said the players decided on the switch after meeting earlier this week with Dolan to discuss the potential name change as well as race relations and social justice.
Lindor, the face of the franchise who is only under contract through 2021, stressed the move was not motivated by politics. He said it was meant to be an acknowledgment to all minorities.
“We know change is due and it is time,” Lindor said before the Indians hosted the Kansas City Royals at Progressive Field. "But I believe positive change can happen. Shining the light on those minorities and people who are in need, it’s extremely important.
“That's what we're doing out there — bringing the spotlight on those people, minorities that need the spotlight on them so their voices can be heard. Positive change can happen. We’re due for it.”
Manager Terry Francona lauded his players for doing something special for the opener and for doing something they believe in.
"The idea is not to be disrespectful, the idea is to make a point and I think this is a good way to do it,” said Francona, adding league rules may prohibit the Indians from wearing the jerseys again at home.