FILE PHOTO: Edmonton Eskimos players raise the Grey Cup after they defeated the Ottawa Redblacks in the CFL’s 103rd Grey Cup championship football game in Winnipeg, Manitoba, November 29, 2015. REUTERS/Mark Blinch/File Photo
July 21, 2020
(Reuters) – The Canadian Football League’s Edmonton team said on Tuesday they will discontinue the club’s Eskimos name that has been criticised as derogatory towards indigenous people.
The decision follows a similar move by the NFL’s Washington team, which last week said they would drop their Redskins name and logo that Native American rights groups consider racist.
“We will be known as the Edmonton Football Team or EE Football Team while we go through the process of determining a new name befitting out storied team,” the Edmonton team said in a statement.
Edmonton, one of the CFL’s most successful franchises, have come under fire on numerous occasions for using a name that some critics feel shows a lack of respect for indigenous people in the northern regions of Canada and the United States.
The team, whose logo is a double “E”, have used the Eskimos name since their inception in 1949.
Critics have ramped up the pressure on certain teams to change their names following the protests against racism and police brutality triggered by the May 25 death of a Black man named George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis.
In February, the Edmonton team said they were keeping the Eskimos name following year-long research that involved Inuit leaders and community members across Canada.
Two weeks ago, after one of Edmonton’s sponsors said they were rethinking their relationship with the team, the CFL club said “a lot has happened” since its February review and that they would speed up another review of the name.
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Toby Davis)