Edmonton CFL Team Responds to Sponsor’s Calls and Expedites Consideration of Possible Name Change

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The Edmonton Eskimos said Wednesday they would “speed up our ongoing review process” of the club’s nickname following recent calls from sponsors to do so and provide an update by the end of July. Longtime sponsor Belair Direct, a home and auto insurance company and one of the team’s 13 main partners, called on Tuesday for a change of name for the team that has been in place since the end of the 19th century century, claiming that its use is no longer appropriate.

“We recognize and appreciate the comments and contributions regarding our name,” said Rose Mary Phillip, vice-president of marketing and communications for the Edmonton team, in an email to CBC Sports. “We take this issue seriously, as demonstrated by the three years we have spent engaging in Canada’s North and researching our name.

“We recognize that a lot has happened since this information was collected and, therefore, we are speeding up our ongoing review process. We will seek further comments from Inuit, our partners and other stakeholders to inform our decisions in the future. ”

The organization “will continue to listen carefully and with an open mind”.

Call for “concrete action”

Belair Direct, in a statement to CBC News on Tuesday, said that for the company to continue its partnership with the football organization, “we will have to see concrete actions in the near future, including a commitment to change the name.”

Edmonton team has seen repeated calls for a name change in the past and faces new criticism as sports teams in Canada, the United States and elsewhere are asked to delete obsolete names and images and sometimes racist.

However, the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation has stated that it does not object to the term “Eskimo” and has stated that it supports the use of the word “as long as it is used respectfully”.

“It was developed by a group of First Nations to describe a group of Inuit he knew about,” said IRC president Duane Smith in an email to CBC News last week.

“Regarding the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League, they use this term out of respect and have contacted Inuit organizations and communities to develop collaborative approaches within these communities to promote education, awareness, respect and healthy recreational activities. and reconciliation.

He recognized that not all Inuit will agree, but said that “educating and educating Inuit about the term will promote understanding and respect.”

Study finds “no consensus” to support name change

Five years ago, Canada’s national Inuit organization said it was time to change.

“It is not fair for a team to be named after an ethnic group,” said Natan Obed, president of the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, which represents 60,000 Inuit in Canada.

Last Friday, the team reiterated that it would not change its name, but promised to increase its engagement with Inuit communities to assess their views on the matter.

In February, the Edmonton organization announced that it would keep the name, saying it had conducted a year-long research process involving Inuit leaders and community members across Canada. This study, according to the team, found “no consensus … to support a name change”.

Coca-Cola Canada Bottling Ltd., which has a product partnership with the team, said it spoke with team management in Edmonton and shared its concerns about the name.

“We asked them to seek consensus on their name in their community engagement activities with Inuit communities as soon as possible,” spokeswoman Kathy Murphy said in an email.

A Jiffy Lube location in Edmonton supports the pursuit of engagement, wrote Kelly McClung, vice president of marketing and operations for Lube-X and operator Jiffy Lube in Canada.

“We look forward to hearing comments from their ongoing discussions,” she said.

Fisherman’s Friend also expressed support for the re-engagement.

Blackhawks keeping the name

The threat from Belair Direct comes days after Washington NFL stadium sponsor FedEx and other sponsors asked the team to change its name.

The Washington Redskins, whose name contains a racial slur, responded on Friday, saying they would undertake a review. The Cleveland Indians of Major League Baseball, who removed their racist cartoonist logo “Chief Wahoo” in 2018 but kept their name, also said on Friday that they would revise their name.

WATCH | The Washington NFL team reviews the team name:

The NFL Washington Redskins say they will undergo a “thorough review” of the team’s native strain name, after pressure from sponsors and an international focus on racism. 2:06

On Tuesday, the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks said they would continue to use the name of their team because it honors a Native American leader who has been an inspiration for generations.

“The name and logo of the Chicago Blackhawks symbolize an important and historic person, the Illinois Black Hawk of the Sac and Fox Nation, whose leadership and life have inspired generations of Native Americans, veterans and the public.” said the team on Tuesday in a statement.

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