Peter Williams: Crusaders' new identity likely to be woke, politically correct

OPINION: A sporting-related matter with a serious social undertone will be in the spotlight on Friday, as the new arrangements for the team currently known as the Crusaders are revealed.

Now, you will know the background to all this.

After the March 15 mosque attacks, some people in the community - and I don't think all that many - thought it was inappropriate for Christchurch to have a rugby team called the Crusaders. This was because of the historical context and connection to the crusades of the Middle Ages, whereby Christian soldiers went off to reclaim the Holy Land from the Muslims, although the Muslims had, of course, conquered the land in the first place to claim it.

So, there have been calls to change everything about this rugby team, which is - as you know - by far the most successful in the history of Super Rugby.

The logo, the branding, the pre-match activities and, most significantly, the name... and all will be revealed at midday on Friday.

I make no secret of my feelings on the matter.

Changing the name would be ridiculous and unnecessary. Most of you think the same.

A Colmar Brunton poll, which came out at Easter, showed 76 percent were against the idea of changing the name. What sort of organisation is going to go against that kind of public support?

A poll on Friday's AM Show was even more decisive, although not necessarily scientific. Last time I looked, it was running 89 percent in favour of no change.

Science or not, that is a pretty strong message.

Already the logo for next year has been amended and there will no longer be a knight on horseback brandishing a sword, just the word Crusaders.

But the pre-match shows with riders on horseback will stay and, in fact, I'm pretty sure they were back for some matches towards the end of last season.

I hope I'm wrong, but I sense something very woke, very politically correct, very transformative - and all those other words - is about to happen.

The comments from the chief executive about wide consultation just fills me with a little dread.

This is his quote from the paper on Friday morning: "I suspect we're the most expert people now, given the breadth of perspective that we've been able to gather.

"How do we help a community heal? How do we help a community grow?

"How can we divide it less and how can we accept that we can't please everyone all the time. How can we do all of those things, but get to the best place, not the right place or the wrong place?"

Those are words straight from the Jacinda Ardern playbook. A whole lot of words that actually mean absolutely nothing, but which I think are setting up the New Zealand rugby public to be seriously annoyed and angry come midday.

I might be wrong - completely wrong - but I think it's going to happen.  

Peter Williams hosts Magic Mornings on Magic Talk.