Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Sheffield Predators name-change bid

Player in action Image copyright Andy Hiseman/Sheffield Predators
Image caption The team said the current name was attracting negative comments

The Sheffield Predators American Football Club has announced it is changing its name due to "negative associations".

The name has attracted comments on social media in the wake of the Rotherham child sex abuse scandal.

Officials said an alternative name needed to encourage schools to get involved and fit with the "razzmatazz" of the sport.

A shortlist is now being put to a public vote.

Image copyright Andy Hiseman/Sheffield Predators
Image caption It said the new name needed to be suitable for both junior and senior teams
Image copyright Andy Hiseman/Sheffield Predators
Image caption The club, which was founded in 2008, chose its current name during a visit to the pub

'Bump, smash and razzamatazz'

The club's general manager, Toby Chesters, said: "The name 'Predators' no longer sits comfortably with the club's stated aims of developing links with the local community, including its schools, colleges and universities.

"We need to avoid any negative associations which the current name is attracting."

He said: "It isn't about keeping the 'PC' brigade happy, it's something we feel we have to do ourselves."

Image copyright Andy Hiseman/Sheffield Predators
Image caption The public online vote runs until Sunday 29 May

Mr Chesters said the club received 185 different team name suggestions, not including variations on the theme of Boaty McBoatface.

He said the change came at a time when there was increasing pressure on big teams such as the Washington Redskins to do the same.

He said many Redskins fans supported a name change for their club, with US president Barack Obama adding his weight to the debate.

Mr Chesters said: "The new name needs to work across all the different age groups - but still reflect the blood, sweat and tears, the bump and smash, and razzamatazz associated with the sport."

Some names on the shortlist also incorporate Sheffield's links with the steel industry.

A potted history of the Sheffield Predators

Image copyright Andy Hiseman/Sheffield Predators
  • The club was founded in 2008
  • It took its current name based on suggestions made on a trip to the pub
  • The club is among the UK's top 12 American football teams, competing in the Bafa Northern Premier Division at adult contact level
  • Teams participating in the league include the Coventry Jets and Merseyside Nighthawks
  • It also has well-developed flag, or non-contact, and youth teams, with members as young as 14 playing contact football
  • The club's flag team has recently achieved national success, finishing second and third in the national championships in the last two years

Source Sheffield Predators

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