Cleveland Indians

Donte Whitner believes Washington needs to change its NFL team name

Donte Whitner believes Washington needs to change its NFL team name

Programming note: Watch "Race in America: A Candid Conversation" on at Friday, July 10 at 8 p.m. on NBC Sports Bay Area.

A major change could be coming to two storied franchises. Washington's NFL team and the Cleveland Indians might have new team names in the near future. 

Washington stated Friday morning that the "team will undergo a thorough review" of its team name, and the Indians followed suit. Donte Whitner hopes both changes happen. 

"I'm for changing the names," Whitner said on "Race In America: A Candid Conversation." "Cleveland Indians, that's offensive. The Indians, they were done very dirty in the history of America. And the Redskins, I think the same thing. 

"I think they should change the name." 

[RACE IN AMERICA: Listen to the latest episode]

Whitner, who was a Pro Bowl safety for the 49ers and currently is an analyst for NBC Sports Bay Area, finished his 11-year career with Washington. He played 11 games and recorded 66 tackles and one forced fumble in 2016. 

Whitner also spoke on his experience with Washington's controversial owner, Dan Snyder. 

[RELATED: Steph isn't convinced Black anthem at NFL games is answer]

"Dan Snyder is under a lot of pressure right now," Whitner said. "People are pulling out or they're selling their stakes with the team, and rightfully so. A lot of people really didn't like Dan Snyder when I was there, so I can see why they're having those issues. 

"But I do agree with the name changes, because it's offensive to a lot of people."

Cleveland Indians follow Washington, could change controversial name

Cleveland Indians follow Washington, could change controversial name

Have we seen the last game between the A's and the Cleveland Indians as they're known today? Just hours after the NFL team in Washington announced it would consider changing its racist nickname, Cleveland's MLB franchise released a statement indicating that the team was open to discussions on changing the "Indians" nickname.

The franchise has used the "Indians" moniker for over a century, switching over from the Cleveland Naps back in 1915. Broncos, Bluebirds, Lake Shores and Bustlers all also are nicknames the franchise has had in its lengthy history.

[RELATED: How Black MLB players are confined by baseball's conservative culture]

 

Cleveland's management clearly has understood how the nickname could be considered offensive, as it removed the controversial "Chief Wahoo" alternate logo from the team's uniforms and most apparel at the end of the 2018 season.

Public pressure has mounted in the wake of sweeping support across the nation for reform to fight systemic racism and police brutality in the United States. 

It won't be a surprise if we see not one, but two major American sports franchises completely rebrand with a new nickname and mascot before 2020 wraps up.

[RACE IN AMERICA: Listen to the latest episode]

Why Buster Posey, Brandon Crawford would have enjoyed Giants' rare trip

Why Buster Posey, Brandon Crawford would have enjoyed Giants' rare trip

As you tick the weeks off the calendar, you occasionally cross off what would have been a very intriguing stretch for the 2020 Giants. 

That first road trip of the season had the potential to be fascinating, with the Giants opening at Dodger Stadium and then facing Madison Bumgarner's Diamondbacks in Phoenix. This last homestand would have been a big one. The reigning champs would have come to town, and after dealing with the Washington Nationals, Gabe Kapler would have spent three days facing the Philadelphia Phillies team that fired him last year. 

This weekend would have been an interesting one, too, but not because of matchups. Sure, Tyler Rogers could have pitched against his twin brother, Taylor, but the latest round of cancelations is more about the ballparks. The Giants haven't visited Cleveland in a dozen years and they haven't been to Minnesota in 15 years, a lifetime in Major League Baseball. That road trip was supposed to start today. 

Think of it this way. The last time the Giants visited the Twins -- at the Metrodome in June of 2005 -- their starting pitchers were Noah Lowry, Jesse Foppert and Brett Tomko. They scored 25 runs while taking two of three, with Ray Durham and Omar Vizquel going deep. In the last game of that series, the Giants won 14-7 with an outfield of Adam Shabala, Jason Ellison and Michael Tucker. 

Yeah, it's been a long, long time since the Giants have visited Minnesota. 

[GIANTS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

That's a quirk of interleague play, which rotates so that the Giants play every American League Division once every three years, but don't play home-and-home series. Before last year's series -- which notably included former Oriole Mike Yastrzemski -- the Giants hadn't played at Camden Yards in 15 years. 

This interleague trip would have been a fun one even for veterans like Buster Posey and Brandon Crawford, who could have crossed two more parks off their list. The Giants haven't been to Cleveland since 2008, when Barry Zito, Matt Cain and Jonathan Sanchez led a series win at what was then known as Jacobs Field. 

[RELATED: How Pablo Sandoval really got his nickname]

The Indians have come to San Francisco for each of the last three interleague matchups, losing eight of nine at Oracle Park. While the teams see each other often in the spring, it's unlikely they'll match up anytime soon. When the game returns, it will do so with a new and shortened schedule, and any interleague action should be limited to regional games -- the A's, Angels, Mariners, etc. -- to limit travel. 

In the meantime, you still can get a glimpse of the Giants "playing" in Cleveland. Tonight's PlayStation simulation on NBC Sports Bay Area is the Giants-Indians game that would have been played tonight. A digital version of Jeff Samardzija will take the mound at 7 p.m. for the PlayStation Giants, who have proven to be surprisingly plucky. After a rough start to the simulated year, they're 16-15.