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Edmonton CFL team sponsor threatens to cut ties if name isn’t changed

The Edmonton Eskimos are receiving pressure to change their team name.

On Tuesday, sponsor belairdirect threatened to cut ties with the organization unless it committed to dropping the Eskimos nickname.

The car insurance firm has been a team sponsor for several years, it says.

“One of our core values is respect, which is founded on seeing diversity as a strength, being inclusive and collaborative. Guided by this value, in order for us to move forward and continue on with our partnership, we will need to see concrete action in the near future including a commitment to a name change,” the company said in a statement to CBC News. 

“We acknowledge that change is a journey and have shared our position with the team.”

A spokesperson within the Eskimos organization told CBC Sports that the team was preparing an internal statement that would likely be released Wednesday.

The threat from belairdirect comes days after the Washington NFL team’s stadium sponsor FedEx, along with other companies, made the same move. Washington responded by launching a “thorough review” of its name, and Cleveland’s MLB team soon followed.

WATCH | Washington NFL team reviewing team name:

The NFL’s Washington Redskins say they will undergo a “thorough review” of the team’s Indigenous-slur name, after pressure from sponsors and an international focus on racism. 2:06

However, the Eskimos said the same day that they would not be changing their name, pointing to a research and engagement program conducted with the Inuit community that found “no consensus… to support a name change.”

On Tuesday, the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks also stood by their name.

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