Wasps have called on the RFU and Premiership Rugby to address the wearing of faux Native American attire at matches in England.
The Coventry-based club have released a statement off the back of fan group The Wasps Report calling on the club to ban Exeter Chiefs fans from wearing faux Native American headdresses at their home stadium back in August.
Wasps have now released an official statement on the matter, ahead of welcoming Exeter to Coventry in their Gallagher Premiership encounter on Saturday.
While the club has decided not to ban the wearing of faux Native American attire, they have explained that they are in opposition to the practice, and have called on governing bodies to deal with the matter.
Wasps’ statement on faux Native American attire.
“The Club was recently asked by one of our supporter groups to review the wearing of faux Native American headdresses and other cultural signifiers at our stadium,” the statement reads.
“We have found it difficult to know how best to deal with this issue, which is why we have taken time to consult those more knowledgeable about this subject, including a number of external stakeholders and members of the Native American community.
“Respect for all cultures is a crucial part of including everyone in this amazing game. We at Wasps believe that cultural appropriation, “the act of taking or using things from a culture that is not your own, especially without showing that you understand or respect this culture” and, therefore, the wearing of faux Native American headdresses has the potential to cause offence and doesn’t align with our values.
“However, having taken counsel on this issue, it is clear that to drive real change we need a sport wide position to be reached. We have, therefore, approached Premiership Rugby, the RFU and the RFU’s newly formed Diversity and Inclusion working group to ask that this issue is formally addressed.
“At this current time, we will not be issuing an arena wide ban on the wearing of faux Native American attire, as one club acting in isolation has the potential to cause further division and uncertainty. However, we do not support the wearing of such items, discourage supporters from wearing them and will be revisiting this decision in due course.”
Club statement following a request from one of our supporter groups to review the wearing of faux Native American headdresses and other cultural signifiers at our stadiumhttps://t.co/dFiug2bZmg
— Wasps Rugby (@WaspsRugby) October 12, 2021
Controversy over Exeter Chiefs’ branding.
Exeter Chiefs have come under much criticism in recent times for their Native American branding, from both supporters of the club and those without a connection to the club.
The Chiefs underwent a review of their branding last year, but decided to retain the club’s logo and Native American branding, although they did retire the club’s mascot, who was known as ‘Big Chief’.
Club supporter group Exeter Chiefs for Change have been among the most vocal opponents of the branding, and have welcomed Wasps’ statement.
While Exeter Chiefs for Change want changes to the club’s branding, they have argued that a name change is unnecessary, as ‘Chiefs’ could easily refer to the Celtic chiefs that inhabited the area in days gone by.