Opinion: Super Rugby's Crusaders must change their name immediately

The Crusaders horses make their traditional pre-game parade.
The Crusaders horses make their traditional pre-game parade. Photo credit: Photosport

OPINION: Now is the time for the Crusaders to change their name.

They can no longer run onto a rugby field with that moniker on their chests, next to an emblem of a man brandishing a sword in battle.

Their logo mimics a Christian Crusader in the early parts of the last millennium, when their soldiers tried to take the Holy Land in the Middle East from Muslims. Two centuries of war left many dead.

Brandishing a Crusader on your jersey is nothing to be proud of.

Considering the targeted hate crime that happened in Christchurch's mosques, it must go. Immediately.

In my experience, it's important to recognise that the Crusaders are an organisation of good people. They are kind, well intentioned and inclusive, but misinformed or uninformed about their name.

Many think it stands for rugby brilliance and in a modern sporting context, it does.

But historically, it represents the murder of people who believe in something different to you and that was never alright.

How was the name approved at the franchise's inception back in 1996? As a crude reference to Christchurch's English heritage?

How has it gone unchanged since?

They must also overhaul their traditional game-day entertainment.

Before kick-off, they have horsemen parade around the field dressed as Crusaders, swinging swords, as if they were in battle. It glorifies a dark time in the world's history, even if the fans are oblivious to it.

While the players, coaches and fans probably don't understand what their emblem and pre-game traditions actually represent, ignorance can't be tolerated.

We must educate and change.

Ross Karl is Newshub's rugby reporter