Like the Washington Redskins and the Cleveland Indians, the Edmonton Eskimos are missing an enormous opportunity by defending their nickname instead of changing it.
Rather than talk about their long tradition and claiming that they aren’t hurting anyone, the Eskimos should show initiative and leadership by starting the process of choosing a new name that doesn’t offend indigenous people or expose the team to this perennial debate. What do they have to lose?
No true football fan will abandon the team if it has a new name; in fact, this is an opportunity to engage the community, demonstrate respect and inclusiveness, hold a naming contest and sell a lot of new merchandise. One day, sooner or later, the Eskimos, Indians, Braves and Redskins will all have new names.
They can do it when they’re backed into a corner by public pressure or they can demonstrate goodwill and sensitivity by starting the process themselves. Nothing good will come from waiting to stop the use of insulting and offensive language.