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McGill decision could open doors for name change for Edmonton Eskimos: professor

Last Updated Apr 12, 2019 at 4:59 pm MDT

Edmonton Eskimos' Adarius Bowman (4) celebrates his touchdown against then Winnipeg Blue Bombers during second half CFL western semifinal action in Winnipeg on November 12, 2017. Fans of the Canadian Football League's Edmonton Eskimos are being asked if they think the team should change its name. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

A professor says with McGill University dropping its 'Redmen' name it could lead to the Edmonton Eskimos doing the same

Consultations have happened in the past with previous ownership of the team

It's hard to change the names of professional teams because of the money spent to build the brand

EDMONTON (660 NEWS) – After McGill University made the decision to scrap its ‘Redmen’ name from its sports programs, the story shifts to whether the Edmonton Eskimos should do the same.

The Redmen moniker has been a part of the Montreal University since the 1950s but has been deemed offensive to Indigenous students and staff.

READ MORE: McGill to drop Redmen name

The move could pave the way for a similar change in the CFL with the Edmonton Eskimos.

Dr. Kristopher Wells from MacEwan University says consultations have taken place in the past with the team’s previous leadership group.

“The leadership has now changed and I think one of those important things the Eskimos can do is address this name issue once and for all.”

Over the last number of years, many High Schools and Post-Secondary institutions have removed Indigenous names from their sports clubs, but the trend hasn’t caught on with professional teams.

READ MORE: Western Canada High School changes name to Redhawks from Redmen amid past complaints

Dr. Wells says that this is mainly due to economics.

“These teams have spent tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars building their brands and selling their brands so name changes are not an easy thing to accomplish. Many are built on histories of tradition, winning championships under those names.”

Franchises such as the Cleveland Indians of Major League Baseball (MLB) and the Washington Redskins of the National Football League (NFL) have been in hot water over their names, which have been called offensive.

Dr. Wells is hopeful that with McGill and other schools making the change, that other such as Edmonton will follow suit.

“The gauntlet has been passed and it’s up to the Eskimos to demonstrate their commitment to the values of our community and to our society, namely those that speak to the importance of diversity, respect and inclusivity.”

In a statement to 660 NEWS the Edmonton Eskimos say:

“Our football club has been going through the process of a comprehensive, multi-phased research program around the team name for the past 24 months. We are still in the process of reviewing the results. Our focus is on our name and the impacts it has on the Canadian Inuit community.”