SPORT THOUGHT

It's been very interesting listening to the debate that is occurring across the country on whether the Crusaders should change their name in response to the terror attacks recently committed in Christchurch.

Rugby is obviously New Zealand's number one sport, and as such, most people have an opinion on this one – particularly those passionate supporters of the Crusaders franchise, who have been very vocal in their opposition to any possible name change.

But I think that the franchise might be doing the right thing by waiting before they do anything, to enable them to seek feedback and weigh all factors up before deciding one way or the other.

There's no doubt they are one of the most successful sporting franchises in the world, and as such have built up an incredibly strong brand that is instantly recognisable by most people, especially in NZ. And therefore, making a change could be a risk for them as a business.

Advertisement

But I would also argue that given NZ's response to the attacks, the Crusaders are obliged to at least investigate a possible change.

In my opinion, a name change would be in keeping with NZ's response, which has been centred around the theme of "we are one".

The question I ask is how we as a country can "be one" if we have our most successful rugby franchise "celebrating" (to the world) what the original Crusaders did back in the day through their attacks on Muslims?

Because by keeping the name, parading horses and swords around the field prior to games, they would be celebrating what the Crusaders did all those hundreds of years ago.

I don't think anybody can deny that NZ has changed forever following the terror attacks.

Whatever we all thought the Crusaders stood for before the attacks (and I'm sure most of us did not really know the true meaning of who they were), that has changed hugely going forward.

The argument that other Super Rugby franchises also stand for aggressive and possibly deadly brands (think Highlanders, Chiefs, Hurricanes, Stormers and Rebels) in my view is irrelevant as each of their cities have not had a tragedy occur linked with their brand.

Perhaps if hundreds of people die in a hurricane that sweeps through Wellington, that may change.

Advertisement

I applaud the Crusaders franchise for taking their current stance and I personally do support a name change – after all we should "all be one" and by celebrating this bit of history, I don't believe we will be.