The Edmonton Eskimos are accelerating its ongoing internal review of their team name.
Edmonton’s CFL franchise released a statement Wednesday morning:
We acknowledge and appreciate the feedback and input regarding our name. We take this issue seriously as has been demonstrated by the three years we’ve spent engaging in Canada’s north and conducting research related to our name.
We recognize that a lot has occurred since this information was gathered, and as a result, we are accelerating our ongoing process of review. We will be seeking further input from the Inuit, our partners and other stakeholders to inform our decisions moving forward. We’ll continue to listen carefully and with an open mind. We intend to complete our review as quickly as possible and will provide an update on these discussions by the end of the month.
That statement came one day after Belairdirect, a major sponsor of the club, announced it would sever its relationship with the organization unless it changed its name.
“At Belairdirect one of our core values is respect, which is founded on seeing diversity as a strength, being inclusive and collaborative,” read the statement obtained by CTV Edmonton reporter Matthew Black.
“In order for us to move forward and continue on with our partnership with the Edmonton Eskimos, we will need to see concrete action in the near future including a name change. We have shared our position with the team.”
Edmonton released a statement last week saying the team would not be changing its moniker. The club has spent time up north consulting with members of the Inuit community and found there “was no consensus among the Inuit people” regarding the name.
The Esks have been under the microscope since the NFL’s Washington Redskins announced the team will reassess its name. That followed withdrawals of prominent sponsors, including Nike removing all team apparel from its websites and stores. FedEx, the title sponsor of Washington’s home field, also requested a name change.
Edmonton is undergoing the same scrutiny as Washington.