Francona’s comments came two days after the Indians, as part of a national movement to erase insensitive racial symbols, issued a statement saying that the organization was “determined to engage our community and the appropriate stakeholders for determine the best course of action for the name of our team. ”
The team’s announcement – a first step toward a possible name change – came hours after the NFL Washington Redskins announced that they would undergo a name and logo review. The Redskins announced their decision after several sponsors, including FedEx, which owns the team’s stadium naming rights, urged the franchise to change a nickname deemed offensive for decades. Like Francona, Washington coach Ron Rivera called on his team to change its name.
In a Zoom call after a morning workout for her team at Progressive Field, Francona said he would no longer get around the subject of the Cleveland name or mascot. The team removed Chef Wahoo’s controversial logo from their jerseys and caps last year, and will now consider changing a nickname that has been in place since 1915.
“I thought about it and thought about it before I released this statement,” he said. “I know that in the past, when I was asked if it was our name or Chef Wahoo, I think I would usually answer and I would say that we never try to be disrespectful.
“And I always think that way. But I don’t think it’s a good enough answer today. I think it’s time to move on. It is a very difficult subject. It’s also tricky. ”
Francona acknowledged her own past errors of judgment. He does not want to be labeled as someone who cannot adapt or change with the times.
“Even at my age, you don’t want to be too old to learn or realize that maybe I ignored things, that I was ashamed of them and that I was trying to be better,” said the 61 ., who guided the Boston Red Sox to two World Series titles. “I’m glad we’re open to listening, because I think it’s probably the most important thing right now is being ready to listen, not necessarily just talking. ”
Francona also said that her longtime bench coach Brad Mills left the club to be with her family. Mills’ 18-month-old son-in-law Beau drowned in spring training.
“I think it was scary for him to leave the house,” said Francona. “I think it was scary for him to leave here. But I know in my heart that he made the right decision. If there was a bittersweet moment, that said goodbye to him yesterday because I care enough about him to know where he needs to be. It was, I don’t know if it’s my left or right hand, whatever the best is the one it was. ”
Francona said her coaching staff would “divide” Mills’ duties, but that many of them would be the responsibility of assistant Mike Barnett. Mills was responsible for organizing the restart of the training camp, which was halted in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“No one will replace what MIllsy does and we know it,” said Francona. “And he knows it.” I think it was a difficult decision for him. I almost wish it hadn’t been that hard because I think I know in my heart where it should be and it’s home right now. ”
Francona has not had an update on outfielder Delino DeShields Jr. who has tested positive for coronavirus and cannot join the team before testing twice negative. Team chairman Chris Antonetti said on Friday that DeShields had only “minor symptoms”. … The Indians will start playing intrasquad scrums on Thursday.