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Exeter’s Rob Baxter brushes off Wasps statement on Native American headdresses


Rob Baxter has dismissed Wasps calling for a rugby-wide review on supporters wearing Native American headdresses as “a bit of a non-story”.

Exeter face Wasps at the Coventry Building Society Arena on Saturday, with the hosts urging supporters not to wear headgear labelled “cultural appropriation”.

Exeter rejected the option to drop the moniker Chiefs following a petition and club investigation in July 2020, but did retire club mascot “Big Chief”.

Exeter v Northampton – Aviva Premiership – Sandy Park

Exeter Chiefs retired mascot “Big Chief”, pictured, in July 2020 (Paul Harding/PA)

The Devon club’s rugby director Baxter has brushed off Wasps’ criticism as ill-timed, insisting there are more important matters at hand.

“I don’t think there’s anything for us to say on another club’s statement that actually doesn’t do anything,” said Baxter.

“They’ve made a statement saying they’re not doing anything about it.

“So I don’t think there’s anything for us to comment on it, they’re probably the people to ask.”

Wasps released a lengthy club statement on Tuesday revealing club supporters had asked for guidance on “cultural signifiers” over “faux Native American headdresses”.

The Midlands club revealed it had referred the matter to the RFU and Premiership Rugby, calling for a review into whether the headgear should be banned.

When quizzed on whether the statement was released in poor timing given the two sides meet this weekend, Baxter replied: “The timing is what it is.

“I think most people’s view, which is very much the same as mine, is that in the here and now, where we are as a country and the things we’ve been through, I can think of far more important things that I need to focus on, the club needs to focus on and people in general want to focus on beyond whether a supporter supporting a club in Devon’s going to wear a headdress or not.

Rob Baxter has said there are more important things to focus on

Rob Baxter has said there are more important things to focus on (Martin Rickett/PA)

“I think that’s most people’s view on it, that’s certainly my view on it in the here and now. I’ve got to be careful what I say, I’m not overly affected by it.

“I take a pretty simple view on these things, I tend to look at things in a lot of perspective. And right here and now when you see what’s really going on in the country and what’s really important, that’s what I’m focusing my energy on.

“And I know that’s what the club are doing as well, and people in general. So for me it’s a little bit of a non story.”

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