Crusaders may change name and brand after Christchurch mosque attacks
Super Rugby champions launch an independent review following the shootings
Super Rugby champions the Canterbury Crusaders have appointed an independent research company to seek feedback on their name and brand in the wake of last month’s mass shootings at mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.
The 15 March attacks left 50 people dead and in the aftermath of the shootings the Crusaders name and branding has been questioned, The Daily Telegraph reports.
Based in Christchurch, the rugby union giants’ logo features “a sword-wielding knight”, which the Telegraph says has potential links to the “bloody medieval conflicts between Muslims and Christians”.
In a statement the Crusaders said they have engaged Research First to “seek feedback and provide recommendations”.
Colin Mansbridge, the Crusaders CEO, said: “This is an event that rocked our community and brought some important issues to the fore. One of the contentious issues that has been brought up in the aftermath of the Christchurch attacks is the name of our rugby team – the Crusaders.
“Because of our desire to be the best we can be and to support our community, we are treating the question around the appropriateness of our brand extremely seriously. We are committed to undertaking a thorough process, taking into account all relevant opinions and, most importantly, we are committed to doing the right thing.”
The branding, which has been used since the launch of Super Rugby in 1996, is “no longer tenable” says New Zealand Rugby.
Chief executive Steve Tew said: “In the wake of the Christchurch attacks, it is apparent that the symbolism the club has used, combined with the ‘Crusaders’ name, is offensive to some in the community due to its association with the religious crusades between Christians and Muslims.
“One thing that has become very clear in the last two weeks is that there are divided opinions on the best way forward for the brand.
“We understand and appreciate the passionate feedback that we are receiving on both sides of the conversation, and at this stage we are committed to keeping an open mind until the independent research has been done.”
The Telegraph says that a potential name change, if agreed, would be in place for the 2020 season. The Associated Press adds that the club has dispensed with the knights on horseback which have been traditional mascots in pre-match entertainment.