Reports: CFL’s Edmonton club to drop ‘Eskimos’

EDMONTON, Alberta — The Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League reportedly will change their name. The team would not confirm the two reports.

TSN and Postmedia say the team will make a switch after this week’s name-change decision by Washington’s NFL team.

A spokeswoman for the Edmonton club said the team had no update Friday.

Teams across sports have been under increasing pressure to drop racist or stereotypical names. Critics say the Edmonton team’s name is a derogatory, colonial-era term for Inuit.

Aaron Paquette, a city councilor in Edmonton, tweeted that he had an “extremely productive” meeting with the club Thursday. He said he was “very impressed with the potential coming out of our conversation.”

In February, the club said it was keeping the name after yearlong research that involved Inuit leaders and community members across Canada. The club said it received “no consensus.”

On July 8, the club promised to speed another review and provide an update by the end of the month.

One of the team’s sponsors, national car-and-home insurance provider Belairdirect, is rethinking its relationship with the club because of the name. Other sponsors also said they would welcome a review.

Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson has said the team should take steps toward a change.

It’s unclear when Edmonton would play its first game with a new name if the change goes through. The CFL in June postponed the start of its 2020 season because of the pandemic, and there is no guarantee the league will play this year.

Although American Inuit continue to use the word Eskimo, Canada’s northern people left that name behind about the same time they began negotiating their land claim in the 1970s.

Founded in 1949, the Edmonton team has won the Grey Cup 14 times, second only to the Toronto Argonauts at 17.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *