One thing in my now 2 years of writing about Rugby, did I never be expected to see. I and Matt Dawson accused of being racist on Twitter.
The reason I am being accused is a Jacamo online advert which shows Matt Dawson and a group of rough looking types doing the Hakarena. I retweeted and tagged my colleague @RugbyNZ_. Is this 'culturally insensitive?' If so I apologise for retweeting.
I suppose that when I see anything related to rugby I like to retweet to the relevant Rugby Account Manager and raise awareness. In recent weeks I have retweeted about Ghanas 7's competition, Serbia and Ireland game in Belgrade. I have blogged through the years on rugby development in Ecuador and Bangladesh. So I am not a racist. The use of the word is offensive. This was retweeted at Rugby People, who use the Haka, on the Rugby Field, as a challenge. These people coming out of the woodwork fail to remember the tweets I sent out several times with the New Zealand Soldiers honouring their fallen comrade, or the school that honoured their teacher. But aim something at the All Blacks, its disrespectful?
I love the Haka, I love its history, but more importantly I love Rugby. The Rugby World Cup will bring people from all over the world to celebrate this game. Rugby People know rugby. We can be gracious in victory and defeat. We have a code of conduct that most follow. I am very proud to be part of RugbyUnited and part of its fantastic work promoting Rugby. At times the excitement of the RWC gets the better of us and we can do daft things. So in closing if you were offended by my retweet I do apologise. Sincerely.
My tuppence - Rich
The Jacamo video is..... well.... it's shit. It's a crass, embarrassing attempt at humour that for me, falls totally flat.
Is it disrespectful? Probably. But shall we not forget that the Haka (of which I'm a fan) is a war dance, a literal declaration of war. So a few eejits in cheap England knockoffs doing a naff dance.... is that worse than declaring war?
I actually posted the video on to the #Rugbyunited Facebook page, with no message, just to gauge reaction. I got several likes and not one negative comment.
If people are going to acccuse that video of racism, can we accuse all the 'arrogant English' 'drunk Scotsmen' 'sheepshagging Welsh' comments of the same thing? It's BANTER. Sometimes you do overstep the mark with banter, but it depends on the person on the other end and their sensitivity. I guarantee you that Andrew is no racist.
Ali Williams has launched a scathing attack on 'the English' in a French newspaper article, generalising the whole of England as arrogant Pom's who expect their side to win. As most English fans moan about selections and give us no chance to win, Ali is wrong, so can this also be construed as racism?
Racism is a big claim and the ugliest word I know. It shouldn't be bandied around easily and certainly not for an admittedly bad attempt at humour. Now if they were blacked up and dressed as Maori warriors it may be different, but in reality, Dawson and co should be ashamed of themselves,but for making such a crap video, not for racism.
The world cup will be filled with Social Media banter, especially for games like England vs Wales, so just do everyone a favour and either take it as it's meant, or ignore it.