Former President Donald Trump blasted the Cleveland Indians Friday over their name change announcement.
“Can anybody believe that the Cleveland Indians, a storied and cherished baseball franchise since taking the name in 1915, are changing their name to the Guardians?” the 45th commander-in-chief said in a statement.
“Such a disgrace, and I guarantee that the people who are most angry about it are the many Indians of our Country,” he continued. “Wouldn’t it be an honor to have a team named the Cleveland Indians, and wouldn’t it be disrespectful to rip that name and logo off of those jerseys?”
After months of speculation and internal discussion, the Cleveland Indians announced that they will be changing their team name to the Cleveland Guardians.
The change is set to take place following the 2021 season.
The franchise originally announced its intention to shed the “Indians” name in December, acknowledging that the moniker is offensive and insensitive to indigenous peoples. Cleveland’s MLB team has been known as the Indians since 1915.
The name change also came after several years of petitioning and challenges from Native American groups and fans around the country who rallied against the team name and the controversial Chief Wahoo logo.
Owner Paul Dolan also said he had an “awakening or epiphany” after the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man whose murder in May 2020 by a white police officer was recorded and shared with the world, sparking a national reckoning on race.
Reactions have been mixed, but the former president’s position was clear.
“The people of Cleveland cannot be thrilled and I, as a FORMER baseball fan, cannot believe things such as this are happening. A small group of people, with absolutely crazy ideas and policies, is forcing these changes to destroy our culture and heritage,” Trump said, likely making reference to those behind cancel culture.
“At some point, the people will not take it anymore!”
In 2018, the team first began distancing itself from its traditional imagery, as they stopped wearing the Chief Wahoo logo on their jerseys and caps.
Cleveland is the second team from a major professional sports league to undergo a rebranding in the past 12 months. Last July, Washington’s NFL franchise dropped its Redskins name and is temporarily playing as the Washington Football Team.