By Jorge Barrera
APTN National News
OTTAWA–An Ottawa minor football team at the centre of a social media-sparked firestorm over its continued use of the name “Redskins” will decide at the end of the season whether to scrap the moniker, says the head of team’s league.
Stephen Dean, president of the National Amateur Capital Football Association, said that while there have been ongoing discussions about the controversy and accusations of racism over the Nepean’s team use of the name Redskins, the organization doesn’t have the ability to make a decision in mid-season.
“It is probably fair to say we have not reached any conclusions at this point,” said Dean. “We are really just focused on finishing the season…we will be looking at (discussing a name change) in the off-season.”
The controversy over the name has been on the boil for the past two years, but it recently gained momentum after Ian Campeau, a member of rising electronic music trio A Tribe Called Red, began a social media campaign to change the team’s name.
The campaign gained considerable local Ottawa media attention and also drew in Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo and former Ontario lieutenant-governor James Bartleman who both backed the campaign to change the name.
Campeau said he was disappointed the league was choosing to wait before making a decision and suspected officials were hoping to again let the name issue die off.
“The organization’s priorities apparently are to perpetuate racism rather than teaching these children that racism is wrong,” said Campeau, aka Deejay Ndn. “I think they are waiting for everything to blow over…but I don’t think that’s what is going to happen this time.”
Dean won’t talk about the league and team’s ongoing discussions with parents.
“There have been discussions, but I can’t get into that right now. I am not at liberty to give anything out right now in terms of timeline,” he said. “I think the fact is that the organization is aware of the concerns that were expressed. We are proceeding to finish our year off and when that’s settled down we’ll go through discussions, ideas and thoughts.”
Dean told APTN National News previously that it would cost about $150,000 to change the team’s name.