Cleveland manager Terry Francona won't sidestep the hot-button topic any longer. He believes the Indians need to change their contentious nickname.
"I think it's time to move forward," Francona said Sunday.
Francona's comments came two days after the Indians, amid a nationwide movement to erase racially insensitive symbols, released a statement saying the organization is "committed to engaging our community and appropriate stakeholders to determine the best path forward with regard to our team name."
The announcement came hours after the NFL's Washington Redskins said they will undergo a review of their name and logo. The Redskins announced their decision after several sponsors, including FedEx, which owns the naming rights to the team's stadium, urged the franchise to change a nickname that has been deemed offensive for decades. Like Francona, Washington coach Ron Rivera has called for his team to change its name.
During a Zoom call following a morning workout for his team at Progressive Field, Francona said he will no longer sidestep the subject of Cleveland's name or mascot. The team removed the highly debated Chief Wahoo logo from its game jerseys and caps last year, and now will consider changing a nickname that has been in place since 1915.
"I've been thinking about it and been thinking about it before we put out that statement," he said. "I know in the past, when I've been asked about, whether it's our name or the Chief Wahoo, I think I would usually answer and say I know that we're never trying to be disrespectful.
"And I still feel that way. But I don't think that's a good enough answer today. I think it's time to move forward. It's a very difficult subject. It's also delicate."
Hernandez to opt out
Former Cy Young winner Felix Hernandez opted out of the 2020 season, at least temporarily ending his bid to revive his career.
Braves manager Brian Snitker said that Hernandez, 34, opted out because of the coronavirus pandemic. The decision was made after Hernandez participated in workouts on Friday and Saturday at Truist Park.
The decision came a day after Snitker announced that four-time All-Star first baseman Freddie Freeman, premier reliever Will Smith and two more Atlanta players tested positive for COVID-19. Righthander Touki Toussaint and infielder Pete Kozma also had positive tests.
• The White Sox say two players have tested positive for COVID-19 and are in isolation. The team said that the two unidentified players are asymptomatic, and contact tracing for both was conducted. They are being monitored by team medical staff and will receive follow-up testing in the coming days.
• The Athletics' first full-squad workout was pushed back from Sunday following the July 4 holiday given the club hadn't received results from position player intake testing done Friday.
• Nationals manager Dave Martinez said two players out of 60 tested turned up positive for the novel coronavirus. Martinez says the two players took their tests Wednesday before reporting to Nationals Park and some are still awaiting their results.