Saturday, May 22, 2010

Rugby: Sorry Is So Hard

Why is "sorry" so hard to accept?
Earlier this month the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) officially apologised to players omitted from past All Black teams to tour South Africa… because of their maori ethnicity.
Back then, the desire to play against the Springboks over-rode the racist bigotry of its apartheid regime. This apology coincided with one from the South African Rugby Union, noting that apartheid also denied thousands of non-white South Africans the chance to represent their nation: a shared disgrace for both nations' rugby administrators of the time.
For good measure, the NZRU apologised for the 1981 Springbok Tour of NZ (that tour split the country and caused violent clashes between police and protesters), and vindicated those non-Maori rugby players whose consciences did not permit them to tour apartheid SA.
It would have been poor if this year's Maori Rugby centenary had passed without the NZRU saying sorry for bowing to SA back then, so one might think such a wide-ranging apology would comprehensively clear the air.
Unfortunately not. Now Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples has slammed the NZRU's maori members, for advising against this apology so as to avoid condemning past maori administrators.
But just how far back should any group or country have to make retrospective apologies for? And why should current NZRU members have to berate themselves in the public eye for 'sins of the past'?
It doesn't stop there: maori now want the NZRU to repeat its apology on marae around the country – particularly to families whose players were deprived of the rugby experience of a lifetime.
But wait: there's more! There're even mutterings that the NZRU should award retrospective test caps to slighted players, even posthumously. But hold on: there was no guarantee these men would have been selected for tests in SA!
If that's not enough, some even query if the 1928, 1949 and 1960 tours could be called "official" test matches, asking how they could be "representative" when significant segments of both populations were denied the chance of selection on racial grounds.
Then it gets really silly, with some calling the NZ Maori rugby team "racist" (maori only)… while others point to the bias of the NZ Silver Ferns women's team (no men), the NZ Universities team (only for students) and the NZ Deaf squad (aurally-impaired only).
Yardy yardy yardy. Enough is enough. Game over. Move on.


Simon Peacull, London said...

I'm still awaiting an apology from France for the invasion of my country in 1066. I know it's a while ago now, but I feel today's French citizens have a moral obligation to prostrate themselves in Trafalgar Square, wearing sackcloth and ashes, and weep in abject misery for what their ancestors did.
Definitely millions of euros' compensation is expected, and perhaps they could through in the Bordeaux and Cotes de Rhone regions as well.

Anonymous said...

The Nz Maori team only lets players in that can prove they have Maori ancestory and these days it is checked carefully. Now when are they going to apologise for this racist behaviour to all other ethnic peoples of the world.


What bloody hypocrites!!!

Anonymous said...

What reeally pisses me off is The Maori constantly wanting wanting wanting things THEIR way! What a joke wanting personal sorrys on te marae. Why do threy think theyare any different to anyone else in this country?