EXETER CHIEFS have killed-off their controversial ‘Big Chief’ mascot – but insist their Native American badge will stay as it is “highly respectful”.
Despite a petition of more than 3,500 signatures and Native American groups calling for an end to the cultural appropriation of their people, Chiefs have refused to rebrand.
As SunSport told you, sports marketing experts predicted that it would cost the club £1million to change their badge.
But after a crunch board meeting on Wednesday afternoon, they have only gone as far as binning off their mascot.
Defending their decision, Chiefs said: “Part of the club’s review has seen the club engage with its sponsors and key partners to seek their views – and they have also listened to the response of our supporters, the wider rugby community and certain sections from the Native American community, all of whom have provided us with detailed observations in letters, emails, social content and videos.
This decision sticks two fingers up not only to Indigenous Peoples but to all minorities.
“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.
“The one aspect which the board felt could be regarded as disrespectful was the club’s mascot ‘Big Chief’ and as a mark of respect have decided to retire him.”
An Exeter Chiefs for Change spokesperson said: “It’s incredibly disappointing that Exeter Chiefs has thrown away this opportunity to show itself as an inclusive club.
“Indigenous Peoples have made it clear time and time again that all uses of their imagery in this way are offensive, harmful and unacceptable.
“Exeter’s refusal to fully listen to these pleas is tone deaf and sticks two fingers up not only to them but to all minorities.”