Exeter reviewed their Native American branding in 2020 but decided to retain their logo and name

Wasps request Premiership Rugby make ruling on Exeter Chiefs headdresses

Wasps have requested Premiership Rugby bosses make a ruling on Exeter Chiefs’ fans wearing headdresses.

The club are discouraging supporters from wearing them in their home fixture against Exeter on Saturday. This comes after a Wasps supporters group wrote an open letter about cultural appropriation associated with wearing Native American-style headdresses.

Wasps have also approached the Rugby Football Union’s Diversity and Inclusion group to address the issue.

Exeter fans have worn headdresses since the club rebranded in 1999. The club reviewed their Native American branding last year after 3,700 people signed a petition against the use of it. Exeter decided to keep their logo and name but their Big Chief mascot was retired.

Related: Face-Off: Is Exeter Chiefs’ branding appropriate?

What have the club said about Exeter Chiefs’ headdresses?

In a statement Wasps said they will not be banning the headdresses for this weekend’s fixture at the Ricoh Arena. But they do not support the notion of wearing them.

“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,” the club said.

“Recent events such as the Black Lives Matter movement, the continued racist abuse aimed at high profile sports stars and rising intolerance towards LGBTQ+ people have made it clear that diversity and inclusion are not just political issues, they are human ones.”

And they added: “We will not be issuing an arena wide ban on the wearing of faux Native American attire. 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.”

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