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New Zealand Super Rugby franchise the Canterbury Crusaders are considering a name changes following the recent terrorist attacks on two Mosques in Christchurch.
The current Super Rugby champions, who count Ronan O’Gara as one of their coaches, have said they recognise that some people are asking whether it remains appropriate for them to continue under the same name and logo given the connotations of the word crusaders, and its associations with the medieval religious wars between Christians and Muslims.
Chief executive Colin Mansbridge said in a statement:
“Like all New Zealanders, the Crusaders team and organisation are deeply shocked by this tragedy and our thoughts are with the victims and their families.”
“This is bigger than rugby and we’re absolutely heartbroken for our wider community, which is where our thoughts are.”
“In terms of the Crusaders name, we understand the concerns that have been raised. For us, the Crusaders name is a reflection of the crusading spirit of this community. What we stand for is the opposite of what happened in Christchurch on Friday; our crusade is one for peace, unity, inclusiveness and community spirit.”
“In our view, this is a conversation that we should have and we are taking on board all of the feedback that we are receiving, however, we also believe that the time for that is not right now. Emotions are very raw and real at the moment.”
“There is the need for this community to wrap our support around those who are most affected by Friday’s events, and that is the immediate focus for the Crusaders team. At an appropriate time, we will thoroughly consider the issues that have been raised and our response to that. That will include conversations with a range of people, including our Muslim community.”
“This team and the wider organisation are united with our community in standing against such abhorrent acts as that which occurred on Friday in Christchurch, and in standing in support of our Muslim brothers and sisters.”