Asia-Pacific

NZ’s Crusaders rugby club considers name change after Christchurch mosque attack

Crusader horseman ride around the arena for a Super Rugby semifinal in Christchurch, New Zealand. Source: AP

The name Crusaders has been nothing but a source of pride in Christchurch, but now the franchise is questioning if the name is offensive.

New Zealand's rugby union team, The Crusaders, is considering a change in branding, after questioning the appropriateness of its name in the wake of the Christchurch terror attacks. 

The Christchurch-based team said many people found the association with the anti-Muslim Crusades of the Middle Ages offensive, following the Australian gunman's anti-Muslim rhetoric. 

The city was forever changed after a sole gunman allegedly killed 50 Muslims at two mosques almost three weeks ago. 

New Zealand Sports Minister Grant Robertson said it was a “responsible action” to reconsider the name.

The Crusaders initially said the name reflected “the crusading spirit of this community”, but have agreed to discuss it.

The Super Rugby franchise has announced it will work with an independent research company to seek feedback and provide recommendations on the Crusaders' team name and brand.

Canterbury Crusaders players and staff pause for two minute's silence, a week on from the Christchurch terror attack.
Canterbury Crusaders players and staff pause for two minute's silence, a week on from the Christchurch terror attack.
AP

Crusaders CEO Colin Mansbridge said he was taking the process seriously. 

"This is an event that rocked our community and brought some important issues to the fore," he told Newstalk ZB. 

"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."

Sword-wielding knights ride around the arena of a Crusaders game.
Sword-wielding knights ride around the arena of a Crusaders game.
AP

 

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