Premiership club ask for ban on Exeter Chiefs’ controversial headdresses

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

A Premiership Rugby club has asked league bosses to consider imposing a nationwide ban on a controversial garment worn by some Exeter Chiefs fans.

Wasps have asked for the ban to be introduced before the two sides meet in Coventry this weekend.

The club says the Native American headdresses worn by some fans might “cause offence”.

They have not imposed a ban themselves but have called on authorities to “formally address” the issue across the league.

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

‘Times and opinions change’

“Many topics and behaviours which were once tolerated, such as cultural appropriation, are no longer acceptable,” Wasps said in a statement.

“Just because something isn’t offensive to you, doesn’t mean it isn’t offensive.

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”.

LeAndra Nephin, who lives in the UK but is part of the Omaha Tribe of Nebraska, said she supported Wasps’ proposal to ban 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, speaking to ITV News West Country in August.

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