Sunday, November 28

Exeter Chiefs abandon Native American branding after consulting fans | Exeter – To the world

The Exeter Chiefs are preparing to ditch their Native American branding after the majority of their supporters called for a change. In a statement Exeter briefly stopped confirming their plans for the future, but said that a decision on “what the club will do next” will be made “within the next few weeks.”

Several members of the club’s board of directors are believed to have strongly supported the renaming following complaints that the existing imagery is disrespectful to indigenous peoples in North America. While no formal vote was held at the club’s annual general meeting mid-week, the Guardian estimates that 70% of fan feedback via email supported a brand change.

Pressure is growing on the club, which is both European and Premiership champions in 2020, to follow the example of several American professional sports teams who have changed their name or iconography. The nickname “Chiefs”, which was officially adopted in 1999 and used as an informal nickname for West Country first teams over the past century, is not seen as a problem, but the club has already retired its Big Chief mascot. Wasps asked Exeter fans last month do not wear headgear attending the Premiership game between the clubs in Coventry.

Dante Desiderio, the chief executive officer of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), has also written to Exeter Chairman Tony Rowe to make it clear that the current imagery and branding is “indigenous to the offensive stereotypes that surround it promotes, damages ”.

But only last month did Rowe told The Guardian said the club had “not tried to belittle anyone’s ancestry,” saying 10,000 people wrote in support when the problem flared up two years ago. But the public mood has changed since then, and while Rowe insists the controversy has not yet affected the sponsors’ commitment or goodwill, there is a recognition within the club that this may not last indefinitely. The estimated cost of a full rebranding, including a new badge, game equipment, and revitalization of the Wild West-themed bars and decorations at Sandy Park, is around £ 700,000.

On the field, meanwhile, Exeter is one of eight Premiership teams to play on an unusually busy Friday tonight after the league program resumed after the international resumption. Henry Slade and Stuart Hogg are back from successful fall appearances with England and Scotland respectively when the fourth-placed Chiefs visit the Rec to face a winless Bath. The home side will be strengthened with the return of England’s Charlie Ewels, Sam Underhill and Will Stuart, Josh Bayliss from Scotland and Ben Spencer, who will be in his second game of the season in the scrum field.

Bath is nine points behind bottom of the league, losing an average of 33 points per game, but Chiefs rugby director Rob Baxter is wary of any complacency. “It’s one of those dangerous games that they can throw anything over our heads,” said Baxter. “This is a really important time of the year for us. Then we really have to step on the gas if we want to be part of the big games at the end of the season. “

England’s newest starting hooker Jamie Blamire can only sit on the bench for the Newcastle Falcons’ home game against the Worcester Warriors, with George McGuigan handing over the No. 2 starting jersey.

“George has had two or three brilliant years for us and would always be the best player of the season,” said head coach Dave Walder. “We’re happy for Blammy that he had his chance with England and seized it with both hands, but in the same vein we’re also surprised that George wasn’t part of the national team.”

Josh Bassett will start at the center for the first time, while Wasps maintains a team from Gloucester for which Jonny May and Mark Atkinson are returning. Fifth place Northampton also welcomes a number of international players including youngest English skipper Courtney Lawes and Welsh fly half Dan Biggar for their trip to Ashton Gate to face Bristol. The Bears, 11th in the table, welcome Samoan international Chris Vui as well as Jake Kerr and Henry Purdy back to their starting XI, who are looking for their third straight league win.

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