July 28, 2020 / 7:40 AM / 12 days ago

Exeter Chiefs to discuss badge, mascot changes

FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - Premiership Final - Exeter Chiefs vs Saracens - Twickenham Stadium, London, Britain - May 26, 2018 Exeter Chiefs mascot before the match Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge

(Reuters) - Exeter Chiefs will hold a board meeting to discuss a possible rebranding of their badge and mascot, which feature a Native American, with a petition calling for an end to its use of “harmful imagery” garnering thousands of signatures.

“There is no place in a predominantly white British environment for appropriation of Indigenous Peoples’ imagery that has no relation to the history of the club, or the city,” the fans petition, which has more than 3,600 signatures, said.

“The Chiefs brand dates back to 1999, a decision that wasn’t taken with racism in mind but one that is now sat increasingly awkwardly at the pinnacle of English rugby.

“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...”

The Premiership leaders confirmed they would hold a meeting on Wednesday to discuss the issue.

The National Football League’s Washington team said this month it would retire its ‘Redskins’ name and logo, which it has used since 1933 but which has long been criticized as racist by Native American rights groups.

Super Rugby’s Canterbury Crusaders 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 2019.

Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar and Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford and Christian Radnedge

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