Exeter have finally agreed to change their branding after a long battle with various outside stakeholders.
They will no longer be using the Native American imagery, but will now instead use a logo derived from the Celtic Iron Age Dumnonii tribe.
The club itself will still be known as the Exeter Chiefs, as the Chiefs name has been synonymous with Exeter for 100 years, when the first teams from this region used the name.
There had been growing criticism from many quarters regarding the Chiefs’ branding, but the calls become louder when the group Exeter Chiefs For Change (ECFC) started a petition in 2020 for the club to change its image as the branding was derogatory to Native Americans.
The Chiefs did make a change and stopped using their mascot Big Chief, but continued to use the controversial imagery up until now.
Rebranding a necessary though costly affair
The Chiefs moniker now refers to the long history of pre-Roman chiefdoms many hundreds of years ago.
The Exeter Chiefs also had calls coming from the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) to immediately change their branding as they called it dehumanizing stereotypes.
Exeter chairman and chief executive Tony Rowe said:
“As a rugby club we have been willing to listen, we have consulted far and wide, and now we are ready to invoke change.”
The rebranding process for the Chiefs will be a costly affair, amounting to £500,000.
Exeter are not the first sports team to change their outdated branding.
In American football, Washington dropped the Redskins name and logo, while in baseball the Cleveland Indians recently changed their name to the Cleveland Guardians.