Tattooed on the arm of former Manchester Charger Chantelle Crowl is a gorilla holding a rugby ball, a poignant and permanent reminder to not let ignorance get in the way of achieving your dreams.
The St Helen’s and England women’s star showed exceptional sporting talent from a young age; whether it was basketball, hockey or anything that involved a bit of competition.
At the age of seven, ‘Channy’ was introduced to rugby league and developed a love and passion for the game, which combined with her outstanding talent and ability, has taken her to the very top.
Channy is now one of the stars of the Women’s Super League. Her consistency and dedication lead to an England call-up and a place in the World Cup squad. But, the path to the top has been far from rosy.
During one of her first games for Saints in 2018, she was on the receiving end of racial abuse. She responded, but not in the way you might expect.
Chantelle told Serious About Rugby League: "I have a Gorilla carrying a rugby ball tattooed on my arm. “I’m asked about it often and the back story is really upsetting but it also provides a reminder to myself of how far I have come. “While playing against Leeds for St Helens, my mother was stood in the crowd and a spectator shouted ‘get that gorilla off!’ “My mother remained calm, she will not let any ignorant person ruin my dreams in rugby league. “I made sure I had that tattooed on my arm, it’s a symbol of strength in adversity. One racist comment will never deter me from my dreams that one day we can all live in harmony as one.”
Just prior to her call up to Saints Channy honed her skills with Manchester Chargers. Gregg Cropper, founder of the club said: “It was a privileged having Channy at the club and her talent was obvious. I speak for the club when I say we are all proud of what she has achieved both and off the field.
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“Rugby, in whatever form, is an inclusive sport in which racism is not tolerated. Touch rugby is working hard to continually improve diversity and inclusion from grass roots to elite level.”