CFL’s Edmonton Eskimos to keep name despite public pressure

Amid the Washington Redskins’ team name controversy, eyes were turned to the Canadian Football League’s Edmonton Eskimos and their moniker, which has stood since 1949.

The Eskimos franchise announced Friday it would not bow to public pressure and change the name following “an extensive yearlong formal research and engagement program with Inuit leaders and community members across Canada.”

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“The consistent feedback was a desire for more engagement with the club,” the team said in a statement. “There were a range of views regarding the club’s name but no consensus emerged to support a name change. The club has therefore decided to retain its name.”

The Eskimos said the engagement program included meetings with Inuit and community leaders from the Iqaluit, Inuvik, Yellowknife and Ottawa. The team added that it conducted a “telephone survey among a broad group of Inuit across Canada.”

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The team posted a statement on Twitter about its refusal to change the name and many of the replies read: “Change your name.”

Edmonton originally came under fire in June, when the team released a statement on racism in the wake of the police-involved death of George Floyd.

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Many believe the Eskimos name is “racist.” According to Merriam-Webster, the term is considered to be offensive. The dictionary describes the word as having “a general meaning that encompasses a number of indigenous peoples, and it continues for now in widespread use in many parts of the English-speaking world.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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