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Pressure increases on Exeter as Washington Redskins agree to drop controversial name

By Ciarán Kennedy
Exeter Chiefs are under pressure to rethink their name.

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The debate surrounding a possible name-change for the Exeter Chiefs isn’t likely to die down anytime soon after a major American Football franchise announced their intention to re-brand. Washington’s NFL franchise have today confirmed that they will drop their controversial ‘Redskins’ tag and team logo following pressure from supporters and sponsors.


Premiership leaders Exeter Chiefs currently find themselves in a similar situation, with a petition launched calling for the team to re-brand.

And club bosses at Sandy Park are sure to have followed today’s developments in Washington with interest.

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Reds scrumhalf Tate McDermott interview
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Reds scrumhalf Tate McDermott interview

Washington’s NFL franchise had announced that they would review their branding in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement, which has highlighted ongoing issues surrounding race.

Many had felt the Redskins name and logo, which had been in place for 87-years, was offensive to Native Americans, and the franchise had come under increasing pressure to re-brand from supporters and major sponsors.

Fellow NFL side the Kansas City Chiefs and baseball’s Cleveland Indians have also found their team branding under the spotlight.

But the Washington NFL franchise today became the first to take action, and confirmed that they will ditch the ‘Redskins’ identity which had long been a source of controversy. It is expected they will reveal their new name and team logo in the coming weeks.


The franchise stated that “Dan Snyder (team owner) and Coach Rivera are working closely to develop a new name and design approach that will enhance the standing of our proud, tradition rich franchise and inspire our sponsors, fans and community for the next 100 years.”

The decision will ensure that Exeter Chiefs’ name and logo remains under scrutiny.

Like the Washington Redskins, Exeter have come under pressure to rethink their branding, which includes a Native American character dressed in a Chiefs kit.


A petition calling for Exeter to re-brand has gathered over 2,000 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.”

It is believed that Exeter Chiefs bosses are planning to discuss a potential re-brand at their next board meeting.

And following today’s announcement by the Washington Redskins, the outcome for Exeter is looking more and more likely.


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