The disgraceful muzzling of Murray Mexted

Murray Mexted, who has won a world-wide reputation for his expressive use of the English language, seems to have much the same problem as Hone Harawira.

He is in trouble for speaking his mind. Or so it seems.

Rugby personality Murray Mexted has claimed he was suspended from the Sky commentary team after criticising plans to cull four teams from the Air New Zealand Cup.

Mexted made the revelation while speaking at a breakfast to Wairarapa businesspeople and his comments were picked up by the Wairarapa Times-Age.

The former All Black No 8 said that after criticising the New Zealand Rugby Union on air, he received a letter from Sky’s director of sport, Kevin Cameron, pointing out that the NZRU was a commercial partner of the network and that he should “refrain from being critical”.

Could this be true? At Sky, you must refrain from criticising the NZRFU? How will sports commentator Murray Deaker handle that sort of constraint?

Alas, The Herald contacted Sky Television to seek confirmation of the letter and Mexted’s suspension…

but was told Cameron was in meetings and unavailable.

Mexted was in meetings at his IRANZ international rugby academy and also did not return calls.

But the Herald understands a memo was sent from Sky TV management to producers and commentators three weeks ago asking them to “not cross the line” when it came to criticism of the NZRU, particularly around the decision to drop four teams.

Mexted – of course – has been a commentator for 17 years but claims he was cut from the calling team for the weekend’s final between Wellington and Canterbury.

Addressing the Wairarapa gathering, he reiterated his claim that reducing the teams in next year’s provincial championship was the wrong thing to do, telling the 100 people gathered that the move was “bloody tragic” and “short-sighted”.

Good for him for sticking to his guns.

Shame on Sky, which – lest you need reminding –

was heavily criticised for appearing to bow to pressure from Indian cricket’s governing body, changing plans to use Craig McMillan as a commentator when the BCCI kicked up a fuss about his “rebel” Indian Cricket League links.

Down at the Eketahuna Club, of course, we are fond of Murray for his wonderful way of mauling the English language. And for his colourful use of the language.

You could say his colourful language is something he has in common with Hone, although Hone’s vocabulary would have had him banned by Sky – one imagines – before he got around to saying what he thought of the NZRFU.

Alf was delighted to find some of Murray’s utterances were posted on line by someone calling themselves the red terror.

As far as the regular rugby commentator who spits out the most mangled language stuffed with double entendres, it has to be Murray Mexted. Here are some classic Mextedisms: The best quotes from New Zealand Sky TV rugby man, the ubiquitous Murray Mexted “You don’t like to see hookers going down on players like that.” “He’s looking for some meaningful penetration into the backline.” “Spencer’s running across field calling out, come inside me, come inside me.” “I can tell you it’s a magnificent sensation when the gap opens up like that and you just burst right through.” “I don’t like this new law, because your first instinct when you see a man on the ground is to go down on him.” “Darry Gibson has been quite magnificent coming inside Andrew Mehrtens, and I’m looking forward to seeing more of the same today.” “There’s nothing that a tight forward likes more than a loosie right up his backside.” “Everybody knows that I have been pumping Martin Leslie for a couple seasons now.”

We love this stuff, down at the club.

During the furore over Rugby World Cup broadcasting rights, a bloke called Paul Lewis – writing in the Herald – tackled those like Alf who were upset at the prospect of having the commentaries peppered with Maori language. Lewis asked what would we rather have – that or Murray Mexted?

It’s a no-brainer. Murray.

And it’s bloody disgraceful if he can’t tell us what he thinks of the NZRFU.

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