The newly minted Chatham-Kent Intercounty Baseball League (IBL) franchise is dropping their recently announced ‘Blackbirds’ name, effective immediately.
“The Chatham-Kent IBL club has made plans to change its name to better reflect the diverse cultural history of the community,” the team said in an officials statement sent to the media.
“As an organization, we welcome all conversations and discussions that help us to grow, foster and nurture our team in a manner that evokes a feeling of inclusion and pride consistent with the community and the rich tradition of baseball. We regret any harm the chosen name may have caused.”
Team officials say this decision was made following important community feedback surrounding the historical derogatory use of the term ‘blackbird’ and ‘blackbirding’ that may be harmful to some members of our community.
Historically, the term ‘blackbirding’ involves the coercion of people through deception or kidnapping to work as slaves or poorly paid labourers in countries distant from their native land, team officials say, adding that management and ownership thank the valued community members for bringing these details to their attention and wish to thank the club’s executive for acting quickly to make a change.
The new club recently announced their adopted nickname on Friday after a community-wide ‘Name The Team’ contest.
A new team name is expected to be announced soon, the team said.