Irritated Crusaders coach Scott Robertson has called for patience in the debate over changing his team’s name, saying any decision should wait until a degree of calm returns to Christchurch.
Before flying to Sydney for Saturday’s match against the Waratahs, Robertson and captain Sam Whitelock fielded questions about the appropriateness of the club’s name in the wake of last week’s attack on two Christchurch mosques which claimed 50 lives.
Agitation arose after it was pointed out that historically the Crusades were a series of religious and political wars between Christians and Muslims in the 11th and 13th centuries.
Crusaders management said they will consult Muslim leaders and others in the community before determining if a change is merited.
That stance drew backing from the New Zealand government.
However, Robertson is irritated the topic has encroached on the news narrative at a sensitive time.
“If you make a call now, with the way everyone’s feeling, is that the right thing? We don’t think so,” he said.
“We will do the right thing at the right time. Do you understand and respect that?”
Veteran All Black Whitelock believed the Muslim community won’t want to be fielding questions about a sports team’s name in the wake of such a devastating event.
Like Robertson, he said he hadn’t thought about the issue.
“In time those questions will be asked. It’ll be a good discussion with anyone that needs to be in there. Opinions will be heard but the right time’s not now,” Whitelock said.