Ex-football players speak out about the removal of the name “Eskimo”

Des ex-joueurs de football s’expriment sur le retrait du nom «Eskimos»

Photo: John Woods The canadian Press
In the meantime the team to be renamed, it will bear the name of “EE Soccer Team” and “Edmonton Football Team”.

Hank Ilesic, which is part of the hall of fame, canadian football has declared that it will continue “absolutely” to qualify for the ex-player of the Edmonton Eskimos, even if the concession alberta announced its decision to change its name.

Ilesic, who had joined the team as a kicker in 1977 and which has contributed to the five conquests consecutive Grey Cup in Edmonton between 1978 and 1982, said that his reaction to the announcement of the decision Tuesday was ” very shared “. The ex-player is a native of Edmonton has indicated that it considers that the name “Eskimo” is a tribute to workers in tough and fierce of the northern part of the province, and that there is nothing derogatory, racist or discriminatory.

“Anyone who has worn the uniform of green and gold has also worn the helmet, Edmonton Eskimos, and can speak on the topic, said Ilesic. You may have already heard before : “Eskimo a day, Eskimo always”. Point to the line. No matter what the future has in store for us, it is like that. You can ask all the players who have worn the uniform, and they will tell you the same thing. “

The critics consider the term “Eskimo” is a derogatory term from the colonial era to the Inuit. The club of Edmonton will undertake a process of in-depth evaluation in order to find a new name, and until it is completed, it will use the names “EE Football Team” and ” Edmonton Football Team “.

The team confirmed its decision on Tuesday, after that the pressure mounted in recent weeks for the sports teams to eliminate names that are racist or stereotypical.

In the major baseball Leagues, the players of the Indians of Cleveland met on Tuesday with the owner Paul Dolan to discuss a possible change of name. This meeting occurred after the decision of the team of Washington in the NFL to change its name, also.

Many of the sponsors of the team for Edmonton, Boston Pizza and Belairdirect, have also announced that they might withdraw if the name “Eskimo” is still in place.

“When your sponsors you is putting pressure, I guess you have to find a middle ground to satisfy everyone, spoke Ilesic. You have to do it. But the story of the Edmonton Eskimos will persist. Nobody can erase it from this organization, regardless of the eventual name chosen. “

In February, the club of Edmonton has announced that it kept its name after looking for a year involving inuit leaders and community members across Canada. The team said not to be arrived at “no consensus” at the time of this review.

On July 8, the club of Edmonton has promised to proceed quickly with a further review of its name and to provide an update by the end of the month. In this statement, the club noted that “a lot of things happened” since its decision in February.

“When you look at the artifacts, the photos team, my jersey, my helmet and the Grey Cup, and all these things that are used to identify this team, I do not believe that it is possible to erase everything, spoke of the ex-rusher Neil Lumsden. There will be a note at the bottom of the page to remind people that the team name was changed… this is probably how history will remember it. “

Lumsden, who won the Grey cup three times in Edmonton, and was named the outstanding canadian player in the championship game of 1981, acknowledged that he understood the need to change the name.

“I listened to the conversations and I’ve read articles and comments from people on this subject, and you have to take the time to sit and reflect, and this is what needs to be done, has been assigned to the member of the hall of fame from St. Catharines, Ontario. I have a lot of respect for this football team, for what it represents for my teammates, who are part of my family. But I never thought of it this way — whether it be the football club of Edmonton, the Edmonton Eskimos, the green and gold, this is what we were a professional point of view.

“But I believe that — if this is not 100 percent of the players, this would be very close — if someone had said that the name “Eskimo” was discriminatory, then we would have had this discussion. No doubt about it. This is the last thing that we wanted to do ; insult or disrespect to a community, ” he added.

The team has indicated that it wishes to keep the logo ” EE ” as well as its colors — the green and gold.

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