Crusaders respond to criticism of name in light of attacks

Crusaders fans show their support prior to the round four Super Rugby match between the Crusaders...
Crusaders fans show their support prior to the round four Super Rugby match between the Crusaders and Chiefs at Christchurch Stadium on March 09. Photo: Getty Images
The Crusaders super rugby franchise says in light of the terror attacks in Christchurch and some public concerns, it will have future discussions about the club's name.

Some commentaries on social media are saying the Crusaders name, in the wake of what happened on Friday, was now problematic.

The Crusades were a series of religious wars organized by western European Christians between 1096 and 1291 against the Muslims of the Middle East to reclaim Holy Land.

Therefore, some are calling for the name to be dropped.

A media statement from the franchise said: "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."

The Crusaders said they understood the concerns raised but the name was not used in context of the Crusades of 1000 years ago.

"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."

The franchise said it was a conversation that they should have and they were taking on board all of the feedback that were 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, the franchise said it would consider the issues that had been raised.

"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."

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