The writing was on the wall when FedEx asked the Washington Redskins of the NFL to change their name in early July. Having followed football and the NFL for over 40 years, I could hardly believe what I was hearing! I never thought I would see the day where the team would be moving ahead with these plans, but here we are. It was a catalyst for the Edmonton Eskimos having to revisit an issue they just made a decision on back in February.
The name issue is not something new for the organization, it has been around for many years. The team had just finished a lengthy consultation and in February and announced the name was going to remain. Then, just as quickly as the Washington Redskins announced they would begin a process to review their name, the Eskimos were back on the defensive. It did not take long before TSN’s Ryan Rishaug tweeted out the team had decided to change their name and that an announcement would be coming in the next week.
This has become quite a polarizing issue is with passionate people on both sides expressing their views regarding the announcement. Social media has been “a buzz” with people expressing their opinions with some saying “it was about time” while season ticket holders were threatening to “cancel their tickets”. Once you get past the reality of a name change, social media discussions quickly turned to what the “new name” should be? Having seen many of the suggestions, I have to say I am not impressed with any of the ones that have been mentioned.
There are numerous posts on “social media” with suggestions for a new name, but none of them really “jump out”. Here is a list of a few of the names I have seen so far. Empire, Elks, Esks, Elite and Energy. There is not a lot of originality in what has been suggested and the team has an opportunity to “re-brand” the team and they need to get this right. For any such endeavour to be successful, it is going to take time and money to complete this task. Ironically, the team just had its Annual General Meeting and the bottom line is the team lost over a million dollars last year.
Terry Jones just wrote an article on the weekend about the hard costs of changing the team name and suggested the price tag starts at $1 million. That is not the kind of expense the team needs during a pandemic, but that will not prevent the team from moving forward. The team had a press conference this afternoon to confirm what had already been reported. While the team will keep the name in the interim, but will be moving forward with changing it. There were not a lot of “details” about what the process is going to look like, but you know those details will be announced as they are decided.