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Exeter have reacted to Wasps' Native American headdress review

By PA
(Photo by Nigel French/PA Images via Getty Images)

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Exeter boss Rob Baxter has dismissed Wasps calling for a rugby-wide review on supporters wearing Native American headdresses as a bit of a non-story. The Chiefs face Wasps at the Coventry Building Society Arena on Saturday, with the hosts urging supporters not to wear headgear labelled cultural appropriation.

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Exeter rejected the option to drop the moniker Chiefs following a petition and club investigation in July 2020 but did retire club mascot Big Chief. The Devon club’s rugby director Baxter has brushed off Wasps’ criticism as ill-timed, insisting there are more important matters at hand.

“I don’t think there’s anything for us to say on another club’s statement that actually doesn’t do anything,” said Baxter. “They’ve made a statement saying they’re not doing anything about it. So I don’t think there’s anything for us to comment on it, they’re probably the people to ask.”

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Wasps released a lengthy club statement on Tuesday revealing club supporters had asked for guidance on “cultural signifiers” over “faux Native American headdresses”. The Midlands club revealed it had referred the matter to the RFU and Premiership Rugby, calling for a review into whether the headgear should be banned.

When quizzed on whether the statement was released in poor timing given the two sides meet this weekend, Exeter boss Baxter replied: “The timing is what it is.

“Most people’s view, which is very much the same as mine, is that in the here and now, where we are as a country and the things we have been through, I can think of far more important things that I need to focus on, the club needs to focus on and people, in general, want to focus on beyond whether a supporter supporting a club in Devon’s going to wear a headdress or not.

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“That is most people’s view on it, that is certainly my view on it in the here and now. I’ve got to be careful what I say, I’m not overly affected by it. I take a pretty simple view on these things, I tend to look at things from a lot of perspectives. And right here and now when you see what’s really going on in the country and what’s really important, that’s what I’m focusing my energy on. And I know that’s what the club are doing as well, and people in general. So for me, it’s a little bit of a non story.”

 

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