CFL's Ottawa RedBlacks modify mascot's controversial name
Published Monday, March 31, 2014 7:44PM EDT
The Ottawa RedBlacks have abruptly changed the name of their new lumberjack mascot after it caused a stir among some Francophones.
On Friday, the new CFL team introduced their mascot as “Big Joe Mufferaw,” an anglicized version of the name Joseph Montferrand, who was a real-life Outaouais logger and 19th century French-Canadian folk hero.
The name caused some to question why the spelling of was altered.
Rachel DeCoste told CTV Ottawa she found it “disingenuous” to modify Montferrand’s name.
“If we’re going to celebrate him, it’s a great idea, but if we remove the Frenchness of his name, it’s sort of like removing a bit of his legacy,” Decoste said, adding the only reason Montferrand was famous was because he was a defender of French rights.
The name became the subject of a language debate on Twitter:
.@grahamctv What a lost opportunity. A mascot based on legend connected to real history of the Ottawa Valley (getting rare attention). Gone.— Keenan Wellar (@SocialKeenan) March 31, 2014
In a statement Monday, the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group said they will stick with the first-half of the moniker: “Big Joe” or in French, “Grand Jos.”
"We unintentionally offended some with the original name and we sincerely apologize for that," said OSEG president of sports Jeff Hunt. "We hope to create a fan base that is unified in its support for the RedBlacks and we will continue to strive to do our best in that regard."
With a report from CTV Ottawa’s Natalie Pierosara