Cleveland’s Major League Baseball team and the local Guardians roller derby team announced Tuesday that they have settled a federal lawsuit filed by the roller derby team alleging trademark infringement on the part of the baseball team formerly known as the Indians in an attempt to prevent that organization from adopting the Guardians name, too. In a joint statement, the organizations said the resolution means “both organizations will continue to use the Guardians name.”

That announcement comes 3½ months before spring training is scheduled to begin and just in time for the holiday shopping rush: Merchandise featuring the new name and logo was set to go on sale Monday, but the launch was delayed without explanation, according to

The settlement clears the final hurdle for a name change the baseball franchise promised at the end of the 2020 season, two years after it pulled the Chief Wahoo logo from its uniforms in response to years of public pressure and steady protest from Native American groups and their advocates.

Instead of adopting an interim title like the Washington Football Team did when it decided to change its name under similar circumstances, Cleveland decided to play the 2021 season as the Indians before rebranding ahead of the 2022 season. In a video narrated by Tom Hanks, the team announced in July that its new name would be the Guardians and unveiled a new logo to adorn uniforms and merchandise moving forward.

But it didn’t take long for seemingly foreseeable trouble to arise when the roller derby team of the same name filed a lawsuit in federal court attempting to block the name change because of alleged trademark infringement.

“A Major League club cannot simply take a smaller team’s name and use it for itself,” the lawsuit said. “There cannot be two ‘Cleveland Guardians’ teams in Cleveland, and, to be blunt, Plaintiff was here first.”

At the time, the Cleveland baseball franchise responded with confidence, saying in a statement it believed “there is no conflict between the parties and their ability to operate in their respective business areas.” Whatever conflict existed now seems to be resolved; both the baseball team and the roller derby squad based in nearby Parma, Ohio, will use the name moving forward after what their statement called “an amicable resolution of the lawsuit filed by Guardians Roller Derby.”

The settlement should clear the way for Cleveland’s baseball franchise to play under a name other than Indians for the first time since 1915. The Guardians become the second professional sports team, following the Washington Football Team, to change its name because of concerns over racism in the way Native Americans were portrayed as mascots. Other teams, such as the World Series champion Atlanta Braves and the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs, have been steadfast in their refusal to make similar changes.

But after years of building toward a change, the Guardians are finally ready to make it official. Until this week, the only people seen wearing Guardians apparel were team employees — most notably President of Baseball Operations Chris Antonetti, who donned a pullover with the newly redesigned “C” on it at MLB’s general managers’ meetings last week.

At the time, Antonetti said he wasn’t sure when the merchandise would be available to the public and that he and his colleagues were hoping for more as soon as it became available. He said he had already donated most of his old gear.

“I’ll keep some for nostalgia,” he said before making it clear that he didn’t plan to wear it. “I’ll keep it in my closet.”