CFL’s Edmonton franchise to drop ‘Eskimos’ nickname

Team's Board of Directors says there will be an engagement process to choose a new nickname

What’s in a name? Plenty if you are a fan of the CFL and the team that plays in Edmonton.

The team’s board of directors announced Tuesday the club is dropping the nickname “Eskimos.”

“Our team has a long history of winning — both on and off the field — and we will continue to do so going forward,” board chair Janice Agrios said in a statement. “We feel it is important to make this change in response to the findings of our recent engagement and research. Going forward, we want the focus to be on the work we do in the community and our team’s excellence on the field as the CFL’s most successful franchise.”

The statement indicated a new name will be selected based on a “comprehensive engagement process” which will include “research and engagement with season seat holders, casual ticket purchasers and partners.”

While the decision to drop the nickname comes on the heels of the death of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, there has been plenty of discussion about the name for several years, including in 2015, when Natan Obed, head of Canada’s national Inuit organization, called for the name to be changed.

Edmonton isn’t the only professional football club to drop its nickname. Washington of the National Football League will no longer use “Redskins,” a name considered derogatory towards Indigenous people.

In February and in July this year, the Edmonton franchise said it would be keeping the name “Eskimos” following a year-long review which included discussions with Inuit leaders.

Until a new name is announced, the club will be known as the Edmonton Football Team or EE Football Team.

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