Rick Zamperin: Edmonton Eskimos are now in a no-win situation

An EE helmet is seen on the field during a team practice. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

What is that old adage? Money talks, and bull***t walks?

After one of the Edmonton Eskimos‘ main sponsors drew a line in the sand over the CFL team’s controversial name, the club now says it is “accelerating” the process of reviewing its team name and plans to provide an update before the end of this month.

Home and auto insurance company Belairdirect, one of the team’s 13 premier partners, has announced plans to cut ties with the Eskimos unless the club changes its team name.

Read more: Edmonton Eskimos promise to speed up name review, provide update by month’s end

In a statement, the Eskimos say they have spent the last three years “engaging in Canada’s north and conducting research related to our name” and “will be seeking further input from the Inuit, our partners and other stakeholders to inform our decisions moving forward.”

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Calls for a name change have been bubbling over the last few years as more and more people demand sports teams in Canada, the U.S. and around the world remove outdated and, in some cases, racist names and logos.

The NFL’s Washington Redskins and Major League Baseball’s Cleveland Indians have both said they are reviewing their team names, while the Chicago Blackhawks say they will not alter their name or logo because it “symbolizes an important and historic person, Black Hawk of Illinois’ Sac and Fox Nation… who has inspired generations of Native Americans.”

Read more: Campaign to drop ‘The Clan’ as SFU athletics nickname builds steam

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Back in February, the Eskimos released the results of a research and engagement program that found there was ‘no consensus’ changing the team’s name.

Now the Canadian Football League franchise finds itself in a no-win situation.

If, after conducting its accelerated review, the Eskimos decide to stick with its moniker the team will appear to be tone-deaf amid the growing chorus that is calling for change.

Change the name, and the club will look like it values the bottom line more than it does Canada’s Indigenous peoples.

Rick Zamperin is the assistant program, news and senior sports director at Global News Radio 900 CHML.

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SFU review Clan athletics team nickname – Jun 10, 2020

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