CFL team drops racist "Eskimo" name
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CFL team drops racist “Eskimo” name

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The team will be known as the Edmonton Football Team until a new name has been chosen

CFL team drops racist "Eskimo" name

The Edmonton Football Team or EE Football Team (formerly known as the Edmonton Eskimos) are a professional Canadian football team based in Edmonton, Alberta, competing in the West Division of the Canadian Football League (CFL). The team plays their home games at The Brick Field at Commonwealth Stadium and are the third-youngest franchise in the CFL. The Eskimos were founded in 1949, although there were clubs with the name Edmonton Eskimos as early as 1895.

The team’s name has drawn controversy and criticism, as the term “Eskimo” is considered in Canada to be a racial slur against the Inuit. On July 16, 2020, it was reported that the club will be dropping the ‘Eskimos’ name. On July 21, the team officially retired the name, and temporarily began using “Edmonton Football Team” and “EE Football Team” until a new name is decided.

Origins of the name and controversy

The story of team’s name goes back to stories in the press from at least 1903 and possibly as far back as 1892, the first date of a “rugby football” game between Edmonton and Calgary. It is a legacy of the bitter rivalry between the cities of Edmonton and Calgary, the so-called Battle of Alberta.

In the early years of sports competition between the cities, the press in each town used colourful nicknames to insult the rival team’s home. Edmontonian writers called Calgary “the cow camp”, “horse country”, or “the little village beside the Bow”. Likewise Calgary’s responded with insults about Edmonton’s northern latitude and frigid weather, calling the city’s residents “Esquimaux” (an archaic spelling of “Eskimos“, referring to the indigenous people of the Canadian Arctic, properly called Inuit).

Despite the fact Edmonton is one and a half thousand kilometres south of the Arctic, the name “had the advantages of alliteration, neatness, uniqueness, and a certain amount of truth,” and thus, according to historian of Edmonton Tony Cashman, “it stuck.” The name remained an unofficial nickname, however, until the arrival in Edmonton of American baseball coach and sports promoter William Deacon White in 1907. White founded the Edmonton Eskimos baseball team in 1909, the football Eskimos in 1910, and Edmonton Eskimos hockey team in 1911. Of the three, only the football teams’ name has survived. Wiki

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