The Edmonton Football Team, founded in 1949, announced two years ago that it would discontinue its Eskimo team name.
The Edmonton Elks — who are formerly known as the Edmonton Eskimos in the CFL — have won 14 Grey Cups (CFL Championships) and won five in a row with African American quarterback Warren Moon, who was with the team from 1978-1982.
No other team in any league has accomplished this.
Warren Moon, who has publicly agreed with this name change stated, “If something is insensitive to another group of people then that is something that we all should be concerned about.”
The University of Washington Huskies star understood too well the essence of racially-charged regard towards people because of how he was treated in the NFL — an organization who shut him out after graduation in Seattle because he was a Black quarterback.
Owners and head coaches had wanted Moon to change his position in football like many other Black college quarterbacks. Moon, undaunted, would finally play for such teams as the Houston Oilers, Seattle Seahawks, and Minnesota Vikings and would continue to break passing records in both CFL and the NFL leagues throughout his career.
In comparison, and in my view, the Edmonton team moved away from the Eskimo term much more in a move for racial harmony and unity — unlike the Washington Football Club — which has long continued to stumble with the Washington Football Team moniker.
The Eskimo name has been tied to many other sports teams in the Midwest province of Alberta. The Inuit nations have told these sports teams that the name was a derogatory 19th century colonial-era term.
Sound familiar? It should because the Washington Football Club has fought the same fight in the United States in their attempt to hold onto the R-word for over 60 years.
The difference is the Edmonton Sports organization worked with Inuit people to find a suitable name, not like the owners of the Washington Football team who battled at every turn for change.
“Edmonton said it went with a plural version of “elk” that uses an “s” after consulting with linguistics experts from the Oxford Dictionary and the University of Alberta. That name proved popular “through all demographic categories,” according to the team.” The Edmonton community-owned club also wanted to keep the “double-E” logo brand when the search began.
There were seven names that were suggested which would keep the “double-E” brand to include the Elks, Evergreens, Evergolds, Eclipse, Elkhounds, Eagles, and Elements.
Just like the Washington Football Club who stuck with their colors of burgundy and gold, the Edmonton Elks would keep their team colors of evergreen and gold.
This past weekend the Edmonton Elks went on the field with the Ottawa Redblacks in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada for the first weekend of the (CFL) Canadian Football League.
The Washington Football Club will announce their name in the upcoming season having stated they will steer clear of any Native monikers, and though the team has banned face paint and Native-influenced garb, what happens next remains to be seen.