By Underdog
#13580
A petition by a handful of Chiefs fans is circulating online asking to change their logo for two reasons:

1. It is an offensive / racist vision of native Americans. Something that many native Americans would like to see removed from sports branding in general.

2. It has nothing to do with Exeter or Devon. They suggest changing it to a symbol similar to a Celtic tribe from the region, and keeping the nickname as a reference to them.

I have to say I agree completely. Whether or not there is much awareness of Exeter Chiefs or even the sport of rugby among the native American communities in the USA, it's something they have asked to change for some time now across all sports.

The change to reflect local history will probably be more persuasive to people. I remember when Bristol tried to claim that when changing to Bears, which was dubious at best.

Any thoughts?
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By patgadd
#13583
I am very interested in the plains Indians (yes yes, I know, Native Americans), and once asked on Exeter's forum whether any of their supporters had any knowledge of the subject. One person had been given a relic (an axehead I think) which he was told had once belonged to an 18th century Algonquin Sioux, but he hadn't bothered to check the provenance. The general view was "we don't know, and don't want to know, anything about them, but it's a great rugby chant and it's fun to wear the war bonnets".

Pace Teflon Ted, my own son and others who hate the chant, looking at it dispassionately it's a pretty good one. What is ironic, though, is that in Native American society chiefs had no power at all, and as a result it took the tribes forever to decide whether to get up in the morning. Even war chiefs elected for a single raid couldn't make anyone take notice of what they said.

The unsung code of the plains tribes was "No man may tell another man what to do", which may not go down well with premiership DORs, but perhaps that's been Rob Baxter's secret all along!
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By A38
#13588
I suppose some might say that Exeter have built a recognisable brand: headwear, chant, etc. That brand is a unifying factor for their club, their supporters are visible, and heard, from a distance. To change it would mean a whole re-branding exercise - I don't think that it is just the logo - and there would be a cost to that.

On the other hand, cultural appropriation (I think that is the correct wording - but please correct me if I am wrong) is a "thing" at the moment and it doesn't surprise me that the issue has been raised. Thee might be costs (monetary and non-monetary) in not bowing to the woke tide.

The old fashioned codger in me would like to think that Exeter will resist the petition but times they are a'changing and pragmatism might be required.
W4rriorz1980 liked this
By ROLLO
#13589
There is nothing that some folk will not take objection to and I am fed up to the back teeth with it. I object to too much virtue signaling in front of cameras so lets put a stop to that.
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By SimonG
#13594
I've always thought it rather ridiculous to see grown men in headdresses making native indian chants (I assume) at rugby matches in much the same way that I think seeing folks walking around with sharks attached to their heads was ridiculous but I haven't lost any sleep over it. I reckon there are far more serious problems in society to address.
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By TeflonTed
#13600
I think it’s a very serious point. Really I do.

The cultural misappropriation of the culture of citizens of an unknown planet by means of a ridiculous logo which demeans their obviously mis-shapen heads is thoroughly disgusting.

You know the rest.
By Underdog
#13603
Ted - I referred to the frustration you and others felt about the summary change of logo when chatting about this on the Exeter board. If a change goes ahead for whatever reason - commercial pressure, the petition or whatever else - then surely the fans would want to have had a chance to have their say. Rather than have a marketing company change the logo for them, or change the name without input as happened with Bristol.

I don't really get comments about it being a small issue or not worth bothering with. I doubt it's anyone's obsession, but it's very reductive and after all, could be easily applied to supporting a rugby team.

As for virtue signalling... That's a bit of a cynical take for me.
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By TeflonTed
#13627
Underdog wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 1:41 pm
Ted - I referred to the frustration you and others felt about the summary change of logo when chatting about this on the Exeter board. If a change goes ahead for whatever reason - commercial pressure, the petition or whatever else - then surely the fans would want to have had a chance to have their say. Rather than have a marketing company change the logo for them, or change the name without input as happened with Bristol.

I don't really get comments about it being a small issue or not worth bothering with.
Yes. I don’t know if you were around all those years ago when the Three Pears logo was replaced by the space egg as part of a rebranding.

There was a survey of supporters‘ opinions, and I can’t even remember whether that was retrospective or not. I’m not going to dig for history, it’s all been said many many times before.

Bottom line, when the discussion got really heated, and people who really should have known better were spouting bollocks about Warriors not being able to use the 3P’s because WRFC “owned” it, (which to be fair they never claimed) or because “The City” owned it, or The College of Arms owned it.......oh it went on and on.

Finally, it’s very simple. Warriors owners of the day decided to re-brand with the egg, some like it, some don’t, but nobody has ever argued that it’s got anything whatsoever to do with Worcester, unlike the 3P’s.

I’m very sure that Colin & Jason have got far more to worry about than the logo, but I’d be equally sure given their attitude to community development and local connections that they’ll give The Pearists a hearing at some point over a pint or two one day.

As for rebranding, only one thing is certain. All businesses think about it from time to time for a wide range of reasons, never say never.
User avatar
By BishBash
#13629
I attended a talk recently where a farmer recounted the story of a severe drought on his farm. Jokingly mentioning rain-dancing and the like, he got a call from The Sun to say they had a Native American on hand to bring forth the rains. Sure enough, the following day said farmer was met by a photographer, scribe (can't call them a journalist) and a Native Chief, flown in that morning on the red eye. Silliness over, this farmer took the Chief to one side, explained the situation, journalistic standard of the paper and hoped he didn't feel taken advantage of. His reply was something along the lines of "For a First Class Ticket and £20k, I'll do whatever they want" The Chief then went on to bless the unborn child of the farmer and hoped his son went on to be a successful farmer. The story was told, just after the child celebrated her 18th.
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By Neiljk
#13805
You don’t have to look very far to see how this is regarded and where it’s less of an issue in the UK because we are distanced from the US, this is a crude form of cultural appropriation and it’s considered racist by a large number of those communities. Being distanced isn’t really a good excuse and for me it needs to change.
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By Brummagem Bertie
#14191
I think it does need to change and I support those Exe fans who are trying to change it.

Yes, there are more important things that need to change but if we can't tackle the simple, straightforward, low hanging fruit (as long as they're not pears, Ted :doh: ) that doesn't give me much confidence that people are prepared to make the bigger, more important changes.

The Washington NFL team will be changing their name and Exe need to change their branding too.
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By patgadd
#14199
When it comes down to it, you have to be careful taking offence on behalf of others. I have a number of friends who could be classed as B.A.M.E. Some don't like to be identified as black, "person of colour" offends others, and one gets angry if referred to by the aforementioned initials. We "white" people have never suffered racial prejudice (yes, English people in Scotland or North Wales can be unwelcome, but it's hardly the same) and we have to accept that we can only sympathise,not empathise. I learned in sales training that there's no such thing as reality, only people's perception of reality. Let's always bow to the feelings of the parties concerned, but let's never, never make the decisions for them.
By Underdog
#14210
I agree that listening to the involved parties is best to do first and foremost, but I think this change would represent that. If the branding of teams in the states is being changed as a result of sustained pressure and requests (as it appears to be), then surely we can just listen to those arguments here too.

Once those requests have been made as often as they have, it's not offence on the behalf of others, but supporting what they've already said.
User avatar
By patgadd
#14261
Washington Redskins have just announced that they will after all be changing their name. Pressure from Native Americans finally telling?
No - " Its major sponsors recently threatened to pull funding from the NFL team unless it considered renaming itself."
If Native Americans pressured the sponsors, good for them, but as for the franchise, it's just the same old rule - money talks.
By Try try again
#14861
I need to get this off my chest. Firstly I'm a white middle class, middle aged male so in a very privileged position. I went to Exeter University about 100 years ago.
I'm absolutely appalled at Exeter's decision to keep the name and logo whilst making a token gesture of dropping the mascot.
I don't think the name "chiefs" is, on its own, inappropriate. After all we have Chief Petty Officers and Chief Rabbis, to name just two I can think of.
However the logo and particularly the "tomahawk chop" chant is, I believe, totally abhorant and insulting in this day and age. So the name, when linked to these becomes totally wrong. It may have been OK years ago but it isn't now.
Exeter's decision just reinforces the outside worlds opinion that Rugby Decision makers are in a comfortable bubble of their own. I just wish they had done the right thing and dropped all references to Native Americans and made it very clear that the chant would not be tolerated, either home or away.
If and when I'm able to share a stadium with Exeter fans and if they start that chant I will try to make it clear that I strongly disapprove. I hope others will join me.
Sorry to go on but I think this is an important subject, unlike some others.
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By patgadd
#14862
Pedantry corner again! American Indians didn't really have a conception of the word Chief. They might allocate someone to lead a war party or to negotiate with whites, but in the latter case only to report back to the elders. Sobriquets such as Chief Red Cloud, Chief Sitting Bull (who was actually what you might call a medicine man) and Chief Crazy Horse were applied by the whites.

All right, all right, I'm going.
W4rriorz1980 liked this
By Underdog
#14863
I think they've made the worst choice available to them if they wanted to close the matter as soon as possible. To drop the mascot but not the logo seems to be a bizarre decision. Surely it's either both or neither? I'm not a marketing expert so have no idea how much a rebrand would cost, but surely changing the head dress to look Celtic would tidy everything up and put the matter fully to rest.

IMO, the tomahawk chop goes into the same category as 'Swing Low' in that you can't realistically ban it, so it's pointless to try. All you can do is inform people about it and let them make their own decision.
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By TeflonTed
#14878
Has anyone ever had to sit behind one of their supporters wearing the ridiculous headdress?

I’m just waiting for the return to full stands to see someone “politely” requesting it’s removal to allow an uninterrupted view for their smaller child. (or other vertically challenged companion.)

ps....pedants’ note.....I managed to phrase that without resorting to the plural of stadium, which I think should be stadia, but am now informed by various online “authorities “ (term used loosely) is to be considered as archaic usage. The use of “stadiums” being perfectly acceptable.

Still sounds wrong to me.
By A38
#14888
TeflonTed wrote:
Sun Aug 02, 2020 7:32 pm
Has anyone ever had to sit behind one of their supporters wearing the ridiculous headdress?

I’m just waiting for the return to full stands to see someone “politely” requesting it’s removal to allow an uninterrupted view for their smaller child. (or other vertically challenged companion.)

ps....pedants’ note.....I managed to phrase that without resorting to the plural of stadium, which I think should be stadia, but am now informed by various online “authorities “ (term used loosely) is to be considered as archaic usage. The use of “stadiums” being perfectly acceptable.

Still sounds wrong to me.
Sadly the days when we were properly educated (i.e. were obliged to learn Latin up to at least 'O' Level ) are long gone.

I write that with my tongue in cheek (mostly) but the discipline of getting Latin grammar right was not in itself a total waste of time. It did teach attention to detail, inter alia, and did allow some modest verbal showing off.
By Lord Elpus
#14891
I suggested to them that they change their name to Exeter Chefs. Easy to change - just delete or paint over the "i". The fans could wave kitchen utensils - rolling pins perhaps or rubber spatulae but not cleavers - , wear chef's hats (not too tall as to block the view of the verically challenged, and sing "Food Gloroius Food" as their anthem. The mascot could be Tom Kerridge - he used to play rugby.

Omnia Gallia in tres partes divisa est.
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By Underdog
#14896
Lord Elpus wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 10:49 am
I suggested to them that they change their name to Exeter Chefs. Easy to change - just delete or paint over the "i". The fans could wave kitchen utensils - rolling pins perhaps or rubber spatulae but not cleavers - , wear chef's hats (not too tall as to block the view of the verically challenged, and sing "Food Gloroius Food" as their anthem. The mascot could be Tom Kerridge - he used to play rugby.

Omnia Gallia in tres partes divisa est.
Haha I suggested something similar (without all those excellent flourishes) on their board and was roundly ignored.

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