The Crusaders will engage with an independent research company to seek feedback and provide recommendations on the team name and brand.
In light of the Christchurch terror attacks, in which 50 people were killed, NZ Rugby CEO Steve Tew believes the franchise’s association with the Crusades, which included wars between Christians and Muslims that resulted in over one million deaths, is no longer appropriate.
‘In the wake of the Christchurch attacks, it is apparent that the symbolism the club has used, combined with the “Crusader” name, is offensive to some in the community due to its association with the religious Crusades between Christians and Muslims,’ said Tew.
‘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.
‘We are asking Research First to look into two possible options moving forward – retaining the Crusaders’ name but changing the branding and associated imagery; or undertaking a complete rebranding, including the name and all imagery.
‘Maintaining the status quo in terms of the Crusaders name, along with the current imagery of knights on horseback is, in our view, no longer tenable because of the association with the religious Crusades that has now been drawn. That is therefore not one of the options that we will be considering.’