Boston Pizza has ended its sponsorship deal with the Edmonton Eskimos during a time when the team is being pressured to change its name that’s widely seen as racist.
The pizza chain told Daily Hive in a statement that it ended the sponsorship with the team in May.
“Although these decisions were made in advance of and for reasons other than the recent movement within society to reconsider culturally insensitive and inappropriate names and practices, we have shared with Edmonton’s CFL team management that we would morally support a change in the team’s current name,” spokesperson Marian Raty said.
There have been calls for years to change the football team’s name, but they have gained momentum recently after the Washington Redskins recently announced they were looking at changing their racist name.
The pizza chain also tweeted Friday that it ended the partnership with the team “as part of a larger shift in our overall marketing strategy.” Their message was in response to a tweet calling for action by the team’s sponsors to stand up against racism.
As part of a larger shift in our overall marketing strategy, Boston Pizza recently ended its sponsorship of Edmonton’s CFL team.
— Boston Pizza (@bostonpizza) July 10, 2020
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The team’s name is widely seen as a racial slur against the Inuit, and several prominent Inuk people including Tanya Tagaq and Nunavut MP Mumilaaq Qaqqaq have called for them to change it.
The Edmonton Eskimos franchise said it surveyed Inuk people recently and found no consensus about their name among the group. The team said they decided to keep the name after that.
— Edmonton Eskimos (@EdmontonEsks) July 3, 2020
But many believe a lack of consensus doesn’t give the team license to continue using the name, including former Inuk NHL player Jordin Tootoo.
“Edmonton Eskimos is not objectionable to me,” Tootoo said. “This does not mean they should keep the name. But, I think the discussion should be around how the Inuk people feel about it. Some might feel pride. Some might feel hurt.”