Over the summer, while the country was still roiled by protests over the death of George Floyd at the hands of the police, the Cleveland Indians began to investigate a name change. The team had been known as the Indians since 1915, but after years of protest and criticism over a name that was deemed by many to be racist, it said the time was right to determine whether the name was still appropriate.

It was not lip service. Over several months, the organization, led by the team’s controlling owner, Paul Dolan, conducted research and held interviews with what it called stakeholders — fans of the team, Native American groups, religious and civic leaders from a variety of backgrounds, researchers, historians and psychologists.

And on Monday, the team announced it would abandon the name “Indians,” which many feel is an outdated relic of subjugation. The team will choose a new name in an unspecified time frame. Until it does, it will still be called the Indians. But that is temporary.

“We have decided to move forward with changing the current team name and determining a new, non-Native American based name for the franchise,” the club said in a statement on Monday.

One of the experts the team consulted over the summer was Stephanie Fryberg, a professor of psychology at the University of Michigan and a member of the Tulalip tribes in western Washington State. Her research illustrates the damaging effects the use of Native American sports mascots have on Indigenous people, particularly children.

She spent about 90 minutes on a video conference call with Dolan and several other top executives of the team. She presented her research, gave her opinions and answered their questions. She believes the team should be lauded for its open-minded and genuine approach to a sensitive matter.

“It wasn’t at all like the Washington Football Team, which did it kicking and crying,” Fryberg said. “It was a really thoughtful process, and it was obvious they cared about it. They listened and asked good questions. They said: ‘Look, many of our fans really like this name. Is there any way to make it work?’ But they understood there is no way to keep the name without doing harm.”

Read the full article at the New York Times.