Footing The Bill: On Tackling The Offensive

Will high bill attached to the controversy over the Nepean Redskins put financial strain on players’ families?

By Alex Scantlebury


On September 19th the Nepean Redskins Football Club gave in to pressure to change their name. Ian Campeau, a local Aboriginal DJ, filed a human rights complaint against the organization stating that the name is demeaning to Aboriginal people. The Nepean football team was named the Redskins in 1981. The team originally operated under a private owner, but handed the reins over to the community in 1996. Now, 17 years later, the organization and all the families involved are suffering for the decisions of those who came before them.             

I am of Aboriginal heritage, but I think Ian Campeau is out of line with some of his statements. One of his arguments is that he doesn’t want his daughter to grow up hearing the term “redskin.” Strangely enough, Campeau’s music group, A Tribe Called Red (which could be considered offensive as well), has a song titled “Redskin Girl” and the song doesn’t have any lyrics at all, let alone lyrics to justify the title. This is a publicity stunt, and is hypocritical on an epic level.

Changing the name may be a step in the right direction in the fight to establish equality for all Canadians, but was it done for the right reasons, and was the price too high? The final number for the name change is $100,000. The families whose children play within this organization will bear the brunt of the cost for many years to come. The Nepean Redskins are an organization that relies heavily on funding to provide recreational football at an affordable cost. Now, families will have to supplement for the rental cost of field time and for their children to have access to proper equipment, not to mention the extra activities in which players, coaches and community members participate.

As a former football player, I never played outside of my high school teams in any sport; the cost of community sports was just too high for my single mother to afford. There is already enough of a challenge getting our young people, regardless of ethnicity, into organized sports, and this has just compounded the problem for one part of our city.

If you want to change the world, even in the smallest of ways, make sure you are willing to lead by example, and that you understand all of the consequences of your actions, both the good and the bad.