Thursday, 6 October 2016

National Game or National Shame

I stopped following rugby years ago because I dislike the whole culture of hard men, booze, and aggression. As an aside, I was also pissed off when the game was no longer shown on free-to-air TV, or very rarely anyhow. A manipulation, I think, to force us all further into consumerism, or to head to a bar and consume alcohol while watching. More consumerism, more booze in the system, more family violence when the hard men lose.
I refuse to be so manipulated.
At this point the only thing I like about it now is the haka. The All Blacks perform that well.
Back in the day, rugby always seemed to me to be as much about the after game drinking as the game itself. And it got worse after an advertising review (in the nineties?) when it was decided that cigarettes would no longer be advertised on game hoardings or anywhere else, but medicines and alcohol (previously not allowed to be advertised in print, tv, or hoardings) would be advertising material. And so often the advertising is around hard men and rugby. The culture has got worse not better since then.
It is hard not to believe that some rugby & booze, executive lobbyists had a lot to do with that. In fact it is impossible. And nothing changes because that lobby has got stronger and anyway the current government seems to think its all cool. After all, market rules, eh boys.
So now we have scandal after scandal as Jo Mathers outlines in her article.
"Scarlette started it. The stripper hired for the Chiefs' "Mad Monday" celebration claimed to have had gravel thrown at her, to have been the object of obscene language and acts of lewdness." (Jo Mathers)
That night unfolded over a couple of days. First came a news item where some LGBT guys were angry about ignorant drunken abuse they copped from one of those Chiefs players in the bar they were all drinking at. All sorts of comments were flung around media, some not particularly nice, and so a young woman who works as a stripper stepped up in support of those LGBT people. She said yes it is true, and this is what happened to me; she was booked by the Chiefs players to strip at the bar, but when she got there they were all very drunk. The performance was taken outside to some kind of garden area, players, 3 or 4 other people and Scarlette (not her real name). Lets be clear. A stripper is not a prostitute. But these hard men seemed to think she was. Scarlette was very intimidated, wound up allowing things that were not within her job description, and was then jeered at, mocked and underpaid. Nasty, nasty stuff, and any apologies and remorse very slow in coming, none to Scarlette. In fact her agency took her off their books.
More from Jo Mathers, "This week, there's the issue of Losi Filipo, the Wellington Lions player who bashed up four young people - two men, two women - late one night last October. The 18-year-old punched one woman in the face, leaving her in a crumpled and bloody heap. He beat one man so badly it ended his rugby playing days and left him incapacitated and unable to work full-time. A second woman was punched in the throat. Filipo took turns with his brother to hold and beat up the other man in the group. But the judge discharged Filipo without conviction."
Why not a jail term? If they were just some gang of young brown guys using violence to steal ciggies etc from a dairy or a service station we all know damn well the sentences would be way stiffer, especially thanks to the so called Sensible Sentencing Trust. But being a rugby player appears to be literally a get out of jail free card, brown or white.

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