Phil Gifford: Only appropriate to consider Crusaders name change

Radio Sport ,
Publish Date
Thursday, 4 April 2019, 12:17PM
The Crusaders may change their name before the next season. (Photo / NZ Herald)

Support from a long-time, high-profile fan of the Crusaders as they contemplate a name change. 

The Christchurch-based Super Rugby franchise announced on Wednesday that they will engage independent research company, Research First, to seek feedback and provide recommendations on the Crusaders team name and brand.

Crusaders CEO Colin Mansbridge said they are committed to taking the process seriously and doing the right thing.

"This is an event that rocked our community and brought some important issues to the fore," Mansbridge said. "One of the contentious issues that has been brought up in the aftermath of the Christchurch attacks is the name of our rugby team – the Crusaders.

Former Christchurch resident, sports commentator and fan Phil Gifford told Radio Sport Breakfast that he applauds the Crusaders for having the discussion.

He says that he is a little startled that some of the changes, such as removing the knights on horses from the pre-game entertainment, have already been decided on. 

Gifford says that he never really thought about the history of the name.

"Since 1996 when the Crusaders were founded, I can't remember anyone down there that I chatted with saying they were uncomfortable."

He says that he understands there are a large number of people who are horrified by a name change.

"I don't think it's anywhere near the same number of people who understand the significance of changing the horses and the symbolism." 

To anyone who says they wouldn't support the team if they changed their name, Gifford has a simple message: "Get over yourself!" 

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