All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor said the players decided to switch after meeting with Dolan earlier this week to discuss the potential name change as well as race relations and social justice.
Lindor, the face of the franchise which is under contract until 2021 only, stressed that the move was not politically motivated. He said it was supposed to be recognition for all minorities.
“We know change is due and it’s time,” Lindor said before the Indians greet the Kansas City Royals at Progressive Field. “But I believe positive change can happen. Shedding light on these minorities and the people in need is extremely important.“That’s what we do there – put the spotlight on these people, the minorities who need to be shone on them so that their voices can be heard. Positive change can happen. We are due for it. ”
Manager Terry Francona praised his players for doing something special for the opening game and for doing something they believe in.
“The idea is not to be disrespectful, the idea is to make a point, and I think that’s a good way to do it,” Francona said, adding that league rules could prohibit Indians from wearing swimsuits again at home.
The Indians announced earlier this month that they are considering a name change for the team, which has called the Indians for 105 years. On Thursday, Dolan gave more details about the team’s process and said he intends to meet with Native American groups for comment.
Before the first pitch, a group protested in the streets surrounding the baseball stadium asking for the team to change its name and remove all Native American images.
Even though wearing the blue jerseys at home is just a one-off thing, Lindor said the gesture can have an impact.
“It’s a good start,” he said. “It can only give us hope that change will happen. We can only change things by making people recognize and educate that change is due and by recognizing that there are some areas of life that are not right and not where they need to be. .
“It’s a huge statement. I support my teammates. I support minorities and people who need attention. We are here. It is a lifestyle. It’s not just today. We want to continue doing this all year round. and next year and the rest of our lives.
“We are not fighting for ourselves. We are fighting for our future. ”
Before the game, the Indians wore black T-shirts that said “End Racism” on the front and “Equality” on the back.
Lindor said the team was taking the opportunity to draw attention to social issues.
“As a team, the great platform that we all have, we are responsible for raising awareness and letting the world know that we need to end racism,” he said. “We have a big, big spotlight to be able to bring this awareness to the world. We don’t need to go and fight, but non-violent protests like this are huge, so that we can fight without causing violence. and just expressing our feelings is a big part of what we do. “