As of right now, Edmonton has a brand new football team. In a way.
And at the very least, the people behind the club hope this is a new beginning.
Say hello to the Edmonton Elks!
(Can we just say that we love it already? Elk are awesome. See?)
Back to sports, the team will use the same green and gold colour as the Edmonton football club had before the name change. And they will even keep their signature 'EE' as a secondary logo.
— Edmonton Elks (@elks) June 2, 2021
But one thing will not remain. Their old nickname. And this move is part of a trend that is slowly changing how many North American sports teams are named.
Many sports teams in North America—including ones in Cleveland, Atlanta, and Kansas City—have nicknames and logos that use phrases and images that are either a part of certain Indigenous cultures, or are stereotypical and racist terms. The most extreme case was the former nickname of the NFL's Washington Football Team, which was a deeply offensive name for Indigenous Peoples.
Public pressure is growing for these teams to change their names. Though the change has been slow, it is starting to happen. In Washington, their nickname was removed last July, and the team is looking for new one. It was around the same time last summer that the Edmonton club made the same move.
Now, by choosing Elks, they have completed the process.
"We definitely did the right thing," said Edmonton team president and CEO Chris Presson at a press conference. "[Changing the name] was needed. It was probably a few years overdue, to be honest. But I'm glad that we're where we are now."
The Edmonton's team previous name was a word that is considered a very offensive and derogatory term by many Indigenous Peoples, particularly the Inuit community. To correct this mistake, the Edmonton team worked with Indigenous leaders—as well as fans and linguistics (language) experts—to find a name that all people could be proud of.
In fact, probably the most controversial part of their name now? The fact that the plural for 'elk' is often still 'elk'! (Though it can also be 'elks'.)
— Edmonton Elks (@elks) June 1, 2021
In the end, we think the new logo is great and those antlers on the helmet look super cool.
"We've taken our time to make sure we got it right," said Presson, "and we know we did."