When you think of controversial nicknames and/or logos, normally the first thing that comes to mind are controversies that are centered around Native American imagery. However, you don’t normally see this type of thing move into the area of logos that are associated with religion. That’s the case with the Holy Cross Crusaders, who have recently had to deal with a tiny bit of controversy themselves.
The school has been reckoning with what the Crusaders nickname really means, especially when you take into consideration that The Crusades weren’t exactly a rosy period in history for anybody who was involved. As such, back in February the school actually put it to a vote as to whether or not to keep the nickname and the Board of Trustees voted to keep the nickname intact.
However, Holy Cross decided back on March 14 that while they are keeping the nickname, they will be dropping all images related to knights in their visual identity. Here’s their explanation for dropping the knight from their look:
…The visual depiction of a knight, in conjunction with the moniker Crusader, inevitably ties us directly to the reality of the religious wars and the violence of the Crusades. This imagery stands in contrast to our stated values.
Over the coming months, the College will gradually phase out the use of all knight-related imagery. Moving forward, the College will use the interlocking HC on a purple shield, currently the secondary athletics logo, as the primary marker for all athletic teams, uniforms and advertising. This also means we will retire our costumed mascot.
Holy Cross also acknowledged that the decision would come as a “disappointment to some of you,” which means that they’re probably ready for some loud and passionate dissent instead of measured and nuanced discussion about why the college has gone down this path with their visual identity.
You do have to give Holy Cross credit for being willing to do a bit of introspective examination on their part in order to realize what their nickname and visuals could mean to the communities who were affected by The Crusades — even if they took place long, long ago — and how other, more nefarious groups could co-opt that nickname into something entirely different (which is partly how this issue took off).
Instead of being reactive, the college was proactive and as a result, this was handled in a mature manner and should be the blueprint for this type of thing going forward, in my opinion.
What do you all think of this news, though? Is Holy Cross making the right decision here?