Canadian Football Team's Name Change Shows What Could Happen to Washington Redskins Merch
As the Washington football team faces PR hit after PR hit while undergoing an overhaul of its entire identity, there’s a similar story from up north of a professional football team changing its name after it acknowledged the name was insensitive to indigenous people.
The artists formerly known as the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League have followed Washington’s lead and retired the mascot. In the meantime, while the new identity hasn’t been disclosed, “Eskimos” gear is flying off the shelves.
— Edmonton Elks (@elks) July 21, 2020
“It’s, at this point, a collector’s item to many,” Chris Presson, CEO of the team, told SportsNet. “[Buyers are] looking at it as a former iconic Canadian name and iconic Canadian business, and they want what they can get their hands on to remember that by.”
We predicted that this is what will happen when Washington debuts its new name. That’s not going to be as easy as it is in Edmonton, however, since major retailers like Amazon and Walmart, as well as Nike, have removed all things “Redskins” from their shelves.
Edmonton’s plan is to sell Eskimos gear until it runs out, which could take a while considering the league was postponed due to COVID-19. Washington will likely do the same when the time comes, with a big sale of everything with the old logo and name.
This is also a way for Edmonton to make up for some lost revenue due to not playing games, and also the fact that they potentially won’t have a new team name for a while.
“I would rather not have anything to sell than put out a product that we’re not pleased with, or a name that we’re not pleased with, or rush something to market where we haven’t done our due diligence,” Presson added.
Once the team does rebrand, however, fans will still be able to go to the games in Eskimos gear. Person said they are “not going to stop what people’s freedoms are” in that regard. It’s similar in that way to how the Cleveland Indians officially retired the Chief Wahoo mascot, but fans still wear the hats to games.
The primary difference here between Edmonton and Washington, though, is how quickly Edmonton acted. People have been begging Washington’s front office for decades to change the name, and it took nationwide civil unrest to finally get Dan Snyder to even consider it. Yes, Redskins fans will still buy up old gear in bulk when the name change does happen, but it’s going to be a lot harder than it was in Edmonton thanks to the retail partners distancing themselves from the franchise for the time being.
Also, since the logo is just an “EE” with no personification of any ethnic group, it would be easy for the franchise to just rebrand with something else starting with E, never having to create a new logo.
Edmonton Elephants. There you go.