Wasps have announced that they will consider banning Exeter Chiefs fans from wearing faux Native American headdresses at their home stadium.
Exeter Chiefs’ branding has come under criticism in recent years for appropriating Native American culture, while fans often dress up in faux headdresses and sing a chant which they call the “Tomahawk Chop”.
A fan petition called on the club to drop their Native American branding last year, but the Exeter Rugby Club board decided to retain their current branding. They did retire the ‘Big Chief’ mascot however, as the board felt it could be seen as disrespectful.
— The Wasps Report (@TheWaspsReport) August 20, 2021
Wasps fan page ask the club to ban faux Native American headdresses.
Wasps Rugby fan page The Wasps Report clearly disagree with the decision of the Exeter Chiefs’ board, and have called on the club to ban Native American headdresses from the Coventry Building Society Arena.
“As supporters, we are so proud of the work this club has done over the past 18 months to highlight and educate around the subject of racism. From the phenomenal, emotive pieces on the club website with Paolo Odogwu and Jacob Umaga, to the taking of the knee before matches to protest racial inequality. That we are part of a club that is one of the game’s loudest voices on tackling inequality is a source of huge pride for the supporters,” the statement reads.
“It is because of this trailblazing attitude that we are today calling for the club to consider action to tackle one of rugby’s most prominent examples of cultural appropriation. The branding of fellow league club Exeter Chiefs and the tradition amongst their fans to wear faux Native American headdresses. Whilst we are fully aware that as a club you cannot force another to change their name, we are calling on the club to ban the wearing of novelty Native American headdresses at the Coventry Building Society Arena.
“We support the fantastic work of @ExChiefs4Change and continue to applaud the great work the club is doing to help raise awareness of inequality. Together we can all work together to create an environment that is welcoming to all.”
2/2 The Club does not tolerate any form of discrimination, inequality or anti-social behaviour. We will undertake a review of our policies towards this and, once complete, provide an update.
— Wasps Rugby (@WaspsRugby) August 20, 2021
Wasps Rugby promises to undertake a review of their policies.
Wasps responded to the fan page’s request on Twitter, promising to look into the matter.
“We strive to be an inclusive and diverse club – it’s great that our supporters have not only recognised this through our actions and digital content, but have also now asked us to look at this matter,” Wasps statement reads.
“The Club does not tolerate any form of discrimination, inequality or anti-social behaviour. We will undertake a review of our policies towards this and, once complete, provide an update.”
Exeter Chiefs have not made any statement in regards to the developments.