Is the government behind the push to change the Crusaders name?

The above article was published by our favourite Newspaper, and then magically, it disappeared…

So is it true or not?

Well, the denials have been coming in thick and fast in the last day or two, so I am really not sure. First, let us hear from the government. quote.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has denied a report that she and Sports Minister Grant Robertson have been pushing for the Crusaders rugby side to change their name.

Sources close to the Crusaders exclusively told Newstalk ZB, the Prime Minister has been driving a push to get rid of the Super Rugby team’s name, following the Christchurch mosque shootings.
They also say Sports Minister is involved.

end quote.

‘Sources close to the Crusaders’… well, it doesn’t make much sense that they would accuse the government if there was no truth in it. Why would they?

Let’s turn that around and ask – why would the government want the Crusaders to change their name? I can think of several reasons why that might be true.

Firstly, some people fallaciously believe that it is offensive to Muslims to have a name, and to have colourful knights on horseback, commemorating a series of wars a thousand years ago that the Muslims won overall.

Yeah, that makes sense.

Christchurch is a white supremacist city, and the local people need to ‘do better’.

Fair enough. That explains why they have at least 3 mosques, in a city of about 365,000.

The government wants control, and forcing a change of name will remove yet another European tradition, along with Guy Fawkes, Easter and Christmas (Happy Holidays).

Yes. That could be it. quote.

“The PM has had no contact with NZ Rugby or the Crusaders on this issue. She hasn’t even expressed a private view on the subject to anyone. In fact the PM has been clear that she intends to leave this one to the Crusaders to lead on,” a spokesperson for the Prime Minister said. end quote.

Jacinda may not have had contact herself, but maybe someone from her office has expressed an opinion on her behalf. quote.

“The Sports Minister has had no substantive discussions with the Crusaders or NZR on it either and has only ever said he supports them having the discussion,” the statement added. end quote.

‘No substantive discussions’ means he has had a discussion. He may not have told them outright to change the name, but he might have simply said he would prefer it if they did. That is not ‘substantive’. quote.

The Crusaders announced last week they will be considering a change to their name and branding – insisting the status quo is ‘no longer tenable’. end quote.

Why is it no longer tenable? Are the local Muslims asking for a change? All the evidence so far has been that they are not. Some have even called radio stations to say that they DON’T want this. quote.

“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. end quote.

All of which would be fine – maybe – if the shooter had been born and raised in Christchurch and was part of a local white supremacist group. But he wasn’t… he was an Australian, living in Dunedin. Where is the connection to the name of the local rugby team? quote.

New Zealand Rugby CEO Steve Tew said it is “apparent” that the symbolism used by the Crusaders is offensive to some.

A Newspaper. end quote.

It isn’t apparent at all. The local Muslims don’t seem to be offended by it. So.. exactly who is offended?

Muslims living in Christchurch do not appear to be driving this, and to be fair to them, they have much bigger things to worry about at the moment. However, one thing is clear. Christchurch Muslims liked and responded to the ‘They are Us’ mantra that came out immediately after the shootings. They want to be seen as part of the local community. Why are some people deliberately causing divisions in a city that has just been brought together by another terrible tragedy?

Some Christchurch Muslims are Canterbury Crusaders supporters. They go to the games. If they had been offended by the branding, they would have said so by now. All this crazy campaign is doing is driving a further wedge between people who need to be brought together.

And it looks as if the government may be behind it. Well… how about that?