Exeter Chiefs are set to discuss a potential rebrand of the club at a board meeting this week. The club have recently found themselves under increasing pressure to rethink their branding, which includes a Native American character dressed in a Chiefs kit.
It is being reported that club bosses have taken note of the ongoing debate surrounding the use of the Native American character and will discuss their branding at a board meeting on Wednesday.
The views of sponsors and the tone of recent media coverage are likely to be taken into consideration.
Some Exeter supporters have been extremely vocal in their opposition to the current branding, with a petition calling for the club to re-brand gathering over 3,500 signatures.
The petition’s website outlines their issues with Exeter’s branding: “The stylised Chief on the club’s crest, the Big Chief mascot, the headdresses and tomahawks adorning the supporters, and the Tomahawk Chop chant are all examples of cultural appropriation of the Indigenous Peoples who were all but wiped out by white European settlers and who still suffer extreme examples of racial prejudice today across the world.”
The debate has split Exeter supporters, with a rival petition arguing: ‘The usage of the Native American in the Exeter Chiefs logo and brand is to honour and respect their cultural beliefs.”
That petition has gathering more than 2,000 signatures so far.
Exeter are not the only major sports team to find themselves in this situation.
Washington’s NFL franchise recently confirmed that they would change their branding and drop their Redskins name and logo which had been in place for 87-years.
The franchise came under scrutiny in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement, which has highlighted ongoing issues surrounding race. Many had felt the Redskins name and logo was offensive to Native Americans.
Fellow NFL side the Kansas City Chiefs and baseball’s Cleveland Indians have also seen their team branding come into question, including fan protests outside games being played behind closed doors.
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