CFL-Edmonton Soccer Crew renamed “Elks”
June 1 (Reuters) – The Canadian Football League’s Edmonton franchise is now known as Elks, the club announced Tuesday after ditching its longtime name, Eskimos, which had been criticized as derogatory to indigenous peoples.
Edmonton, one of the CFL’s most successful franchises, has come under fire several times for using a name that some critics believe showed a lack of respect for indigenous people in the northern regions of Canada and the United States.
The Eskimos name was retired in 2020 and the club was known as the Edmonton Football Team while considering a new identity.
“This was a process that originally began in early August 2020 with an initial discussion of the possibilities,” Elks President Chris Presson said in a statement. “Thanks to our wonderful fans and partners across the board for their input, dialogue and debate.
“Renaming a team is hard. Renaming a team with a 100-year history is even more difficult and we’ve worked hard to combine that story with something new and meaningful.”
The team, whose logo is a double “E”, has been using the Eskimos name since it was founded in 1949 and will continue to use the trademark on their helmets and other merchandise when they switch to the Elks.
The decision to drop the Eskimos name follows a similar move last July by the Washington National Football League team, which withdrew its name and logo from the Redskins, who are viewed by Native American rights groups as racist.
Washington has yet to announce a new name for its franchise.
Major League Baseball’s Cleveland Indians have announced that they will change their name but will continue to use it through the 2021 season.
The team, which has only won two World Series championships since its inception, removed its “Chief Wahoo” logo from uniforms as of the 2019 season, but has retained other traditions such as referring to itself as “the tribe”.
Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto. Editing by Toby Davis
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