Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona is in favor of changing the team's longtime and controversial nickname.
"I think it's time to move forward," Francona said Sunday, according to Tom Withers of The Associated Press.
Francona's endorsement of a change comes two days after the team announced it is ready to discuss ditching the nickname. In a statement, Cleveland said it's "committed to engaging our community and appropriate stakeholders to determine the best path forward with regard to our team name."
The Indians moniker, which the team has used since 1915, has long been criticized and protested as offensive to Native Americans. Two years ago, Cleveland stopped using the Chief Wahoo logo, which was subject to its own protests as a racist depiction of Natives, on its uniforms and caps, although the team has continued selling some Wahoo merchandise to protect the copyright.
Francona, who has managed Cleveland since 2013 and briefly played for the team in 1988, also acknowledged his past errors when addressing the controversy surrounding the nickname. The 61-year-old admitted he'd been "ignorant" to the issues and uncomfortable with discussing his personal feelings about the moniker, something that he now regrets and wants to change.
"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," Francona said.
"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."
"I'm glad that we're going to be open to listening," the skipper added, "because I think that's probably the most important thing right now, is being willing to listen, not necessarily just talk."