The mad media seem somewhat surprised in having to report that Rugby World Cup ambassador Andy Haden will stay on in his role.
It’s enough for those who decided Haden can keep the job that he has made a mistake, apologised, and (as the Herald tells us) that’s the end of the matter.
So it bloody should be.
Alf was mortified to see the groundswell of demands for the forthright former All Black’s sacking as an “ambassador” because he had referred to Polynesians as “darkies”.
Good grief. Do we want our All Blacks to be a bunch of fairies? Or to become a bunch of fairies after their playing days have finished?
The Herald, certainly, seems keen to avoid using the troublesome word today except as a direct quote to explain what exactly was said.
Haden’s comments last week – that the Crusaders Super 14 franchise had a limit to the number of Polynesian players they had – sparked heated debate nationwide.
His use of a racial term many regard as offensive sparked even more controversy.
“Once they’ve recruited three, that’s it. That’s their ceiling. Three darkies – no more,” he said on the Deaker on Sport TV panel show.
As the whole country now knows, Rugby World Cup minister Murray McCully was under pressure to sack Haden as one of six world cup ambassadors.
He met the former All Black yesterday, and afterwards:
Mr McCully announced that Haden would keep his role but said it was not favourable to have to be addressing issues such as suggested racism or the use of language, instead of rugby.
“Look, if we were to take out everyone who made a mistake and shoot them, we’d sooner or later run out of people to do things in this country,” the minister said.
“Mr Haden accepts that his use [of] a particular term caused offence. He has – without any prompting from me – already apologised for causing offence … That, as far as I am concerned, is the end of the matter.”
The Herald tells us Haden again apologised in a statement yesterday for his use of the word “darkies” and said he had realised it had caused great offence.
“On a television sports programme last week, I used a term that has caused significant public comment in recent days – it was never my intention to cause offence.”
However, Haden did not apologise for suggesting there was a Polynesian quota. Last night, he did not want to comment further.
McCully is separating himself and his appointments from the quota issue, saying the individual Super 14 franchises dealt with player selections and that was a debate he was not prepared to take part in.
Alf is happy with that.
He would have been happier if the Government had stayed out of the matter from the outset.
Things have come to a pretty pass if blokes like Haden must be given a personality transplant and become mamby-pamby eunuchs when they are appointed by blokes like McCully to do the country a favour by promoting the Rugby World Cup, for which taxpayers are coughing up millions of dollars.