The Crusaders aren't the first side with that moniker to consider ditching the name.

In the wake of the Christchurch mosque attacks Crusaders chief executive Colin Mansbridge said in a statement yesterday his organisation understood the concerns raised and said the franchise's name will be reviewed.

Two previous sides called the Crusaders, an English cricket side and a US College, went through the process of reviewing the name with one choosing to ditch it and the other sticking with it.

Comment: Like it or not, questions about Crusaders name must be properly addressed


"In light of recent events in Christchurch, we have heard some comments around the Crusaders team," Mansbridge 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 wide community, which is where our thoughts are.

"In terms of the Crusaders name, we understand the concerns that have been raised. Us, the Crusaders name is a reflection of the crusading sprit of the 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.

Crusaders will look at possible name change in wake of Christchurch mosque attacks

"In our view, the is a conversation that we should have and we are taking on board all 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."

The nine-time Super Rugby champions have had the name since the inaugural 1996 Super 12 season but it's come under question in the wake of the attack on the Muslim community which has left 50 dead and many more traumatised.

Historically, the Crusades were a series of religious and political wars between Christians and Muslims fought in 11th and 13th centuries.


In 2009 Middlesex County Cricket Club in England changed their name from the Middlesex Crusaders to the Panthers after receiving "one or two" complaints from Muslim and Jewish communities.

"We felt that the time was right for us to take a look at our one day image and unanimously reached the conclusion that rebranding to a new look would be the right decision at this time," said then-Middlesex chief executive Vinny Codrington.

The athletics teams at College of the Holy Cross, based in Worcester, Massachusetts, have been called the Crusaders since 1920.

The school's board of trustees voted to retain their moniker last year but decided to ditch any knight imagery.

"While we acknowledge that the Crusades were among the darkest periods in Church history, we choose to associate ourselves with the modern definition of the word crusader, one which is representative of our Catholic, Jesuit identity and our mission and values as an institution and community," the school's president, the Rev. Philip L. Boroughs and the board's chair John J. Mahoney, said in aa joint statement a the time.

"We are not simply crusaders, we are Holy Cross Crusaders."

Holy Cross did however change the name of their student newspaper from The Crusader to The Spire in 2018.

Last year MLB team the Cleveland Indians dropped the Chief Wahoo logo from their uniforms after decades of protests and complaints that the grinning, red-faced caricature used in one version or another since 1947 is racist.

Every year, Native American groups have protested outside the stadium before the home opener in hopes of getting the Indians not only to abolish Chief Wahoo but to change the team name.

The NFL's Washington Redskins have come under similar pressure to change their less-cartoonish Indian-head logo and their name but so far have resisted. Last year, a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in another case made it clear that the Redskins name cannot be stripped of trademark protection just because some find it offensive.

Stanford, Illinois and Dartmouth are among the colleges and universities that have dropped Native American nicknames or symbols for their teams over the years.