Match bans proposed for Exeter Chiefs fans wearing ‘stereotypical’ headdresses

  • Watch LeAndra Nephin, of the Omaha Tribe of Nebraska, on the headdresses

Exeter Chiefs fans could be banned from attending matches at a rival club if they continue to wear costume headdresses.

Chiefs have been criticised in the past for using Native American references in its crest, team name and other marketing.

Last year, the club’s hierarchy agreed to retire their ‘Big Chief’ mascot but said the rest of their branding is “not disrespectful to indigenous groups”.

But now the club is facing renewed pressure after an open letter was published by Wasps Rugby fans.

The 'Big Chief' mascot was retired last year. Credit: PA

In the letter, supporters described the costume headdresses - which are worn by some Chiefs fans at matches - as “one of rugby’s most prominent examples of cultural appropriation”.

The letter, which was shared online, said: "Whilst we are fully aware that as a club you cannot force another to change their name, we are calling on the club to ban the wearing of novelty Native American headdresses at the Coventry Building Society Arena.

"Together we can all work together to create an environment that is welcoming to all."

In response, Wasps Rugby said they will consider the request as part of a wider review of existing policies.

LeAndra Nephin, who lives in the UK but is part of the Omaha Tribe of Nebraska, said she supported Wasps’ match-day ban proposal for fans wearing headdresses.

“Let’s change that branding, let’s get rid of the headdresses, let’s do more than lip-service, let’s do more than a little post here and there on Twitter,” she said.

“This requires action. This requires more than what’s happening right now.”