29 Jul Exeter Chiefs rugby union club to consider changing its ‘harmful imagery and branding’ | US News
The board of Exeter Chiefs rugby club will meet to discuss a possible change to its “harmful imagery and branding”.
The Devon-based side, who play in the Gallagher Premiership, currently use Native American imagery in their badge and mascot.
An Exeter supporters’ online petition has gathered more than 3,700 signatures from people calling for the club to drop the branding.
The petition comes with a statement which reads: “Exeter Chiefs is a fantastic club that has seen a huge amount of success on the pitch and done a lot of good off it for decades. It’s one of Exeter’s most well-known brands and has put the city firmly on the sporting map. The club MUST address its use of harmful imagery and branding.
“There is no place in a predominantly white British environment for appropriation of Indigenous Peoples’ imagery that has no relation whatsoever to the history of the club, or the city. The ‘Chiefs’ brand dates back to 1999, a decision that was not taken with racism in mind, but one that is now sat increasingly awkwardly at the pinnacle of English rugby.”
The statement continues: “The stylised Chief on the club’s crest, the mascot, the headdresses and tomahawks adorning the supporters, and the ‘Tomahawk Chop’ chant are all examples of cultural appropriation.”
A counter petition has been launched arguing against any change as club fans are split over whether the branding carries offence.
The petition, which has had more than 2,400 signatures, is accompanied by a statement which reads: “The usage of the Native American in the Exeter Chiefs logo and brand is to honour and respect their cultural beliefs.
“Exeter Chiefs fans wear their replica shirts and merchandise with pride of their team, and all that goes with it. “
The board is now set to meet to consider the contrasting views of the club’s fanbase and decide what to do next.
Chiefs bosses are waiting until after those discussions to make a comment on the issue.
American Football’s three-time Super Bowl winners the Washington Redskins recently dropped their badge and branding, taking on the temporary new name of the Washington Football Team.
Super Rugby’s Canterbury Crusaders in New Zealand had retained their name but changed the logo of a sword-wielding knight after a brand review in the wake of a mass shooting at two mosques in Christchurch in March.