EXTER CHIEFS’ key backers and suppliers denied the chance to publicly support the club’s controversial Native American branding.
After Exeter chairman Tony Rowe claimed that ‘all our sponsors are fully behind us and our branding‘, SunSport contacted companies to see if they would go on the record to show their support.
However, not one from Heineken, Bradfords, Centrax, St. Ewe Eggs, Otter Brewery, Samurai or Tolchards drinks replied to stand by Rowe’s comments.
It comes just days after a bizarre club statement from Rowe in which he declared there was no need to panic over the fallen Premiership and European Champions’ lack of shirt sponsor.
And for their second defeat of the season, that leaves the club 12th out of 13 in the Premiership, Exeter did unveil a new main kit sponsor.
But it turned out that their new tie-up is in fact a company in which Rowe is a director. . . and his wife Sharon is secretary.
The new sponsors, West Exe Business Park, is also an unbuilt development on the outskirts of the city.
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For more than a year now campaigners have been calling on the club to ditch what they describe is ‘racist and harmful’ Native American imagery.
Exeter’s badge and kit both use the Native American headdress and just last year the Devonian outfit retired their controversial ‘Big Chief’ mascot following pressure.
However, they still continued to try and flog ‘Big Chief’ merchandise in their club shop after announcing the news.
The National Council for American Indians in the USA say: “Indian sports brands used by professional teams were born in an era when racism and bigotry were accepted by the dominant culture.
“These brands, which have grown to become multi-million dollar franchises, were established at a time when the practice of using racial epithets and slurs as marketing slogans were a common practice among white owners seeking to capitalise on cultural superiority and racial tensions.
“Over the last fifty years a ground swell of support has mounted to bring an end to the era of racist and harmful “Indian” mascots in sports and popular culture. Today, that support is stronger than ever. “
Exeter have always insisted that their use of Native American imagery is ‘respectful’.