Exeter Chiefs have ignited a fresh wave of criticism after launching their kit for the 2020/21 season. In response to a petition signed by over 3,500 people, the English Premiership outfit conducted a review in July regarding their branding and use of Native American imagery and subsequently dropped their mascot.
The club maintained use of their logo, though, believing it to be highly respectful, but that did not appease some of their opposition. The club said in a statement at the time: “Content provided to the board indicated that the name Chiefs dated back into the early 1900s and had a long history with people in the Devon area.
“The board took the view that the use of the Chiefs logo was in fact highly respectful. It was noted over the years we have had players and coaches from around the world with a wide range of nationalities and cultures. At no time have any players, coaches or their families said anything but positive comments about the branding or culture that exists at the club.”
But upon the release of their new kits this week, the previous criticism Exeter had faced resurfaced, particularly regarding their third kit. This shirt displays two chief emblems across the midriff in a similar fashion to their current purple kit.
The organisation Exeter Chiefs For Change responded to the kit launch on Twitter, requesting that another review is conducted ahead of the 2021/22 season.
They said: “We appreciate that a lot of investment will have gone into the new season’s kit and it’s too late to make changes this season, but how about scheduling a further review of the branding before the 2021/22 season kit is designed and launched?”
The responses that the Heineken Champions Cup finalists have received on social media are that they could realign their branding to something more local to Devon while still maintaining the Chiefs name.
The NFL’s Washington team are an example of an organisation that underwent a recent rebranding by dropping their Redskins moniker earlier. However, while this issue has already been addressed by Exeter, they are still facing opposition.
We appreciate that a lot of investment will have gone in to the new season’s kit and it’s too late to make changes this season but how about scheduling a further review of the branding before the 2021/22 season kit is designed and launched? #notyourmascot #rugbyagainstracism
— Exeter Chiefs For Change (@ExChiefs4Change) October 1, 2020
You should have an emblem that celebrates local history rather than the one you’ve chosen. It would be much better to honour your local area and not ignore the voices of the people you use as a mascot #notyourmascot
— Sam (@RugbyDrever) October 1, 2020
Sorry I do like you as a club for all you’ve achieved….but how is the mascot more offensive than doubling down on that logo all over a shirt?
— Doug the Prop? (@DougProp) October 2, 2020
So much for removing the “distasteful branding” and imagery then https://t.co/mE3vpN00xp
— Harry Elliott (@harry94elliott) October 1, 2020
Having followed the debate & woken up to the issue, my Chiefs branded clothing with the logo will be staying the cupboard. None of which diminishes my support of the team.
— Martin Elcoate (@MElcoate) October 2, 2020
.@ExeterChiefs literally doubling down on their racist branding.
— Steven McCready (@52fitness) October 2, 2020
@ExChiefs4Change speak for many fans like me. We support the club but know, like many North American sports teams, that it’s time to change this “Native American” branding to something which better represents the West Country. Disappointing that @ExeterChiefs refuse to comment. https://t.co/ELAe6uI41t
— Paul Roberts (@PaulRobertsNHS) October 2, 2020
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