NZ Rugby was asked what the behaviour of Ali Williams and Dan Carter in France (allegedly cocaine and drink driving), did to the All Black brand.
The angle that made the headlines was boss Steve Tew saying “I think it’s… disappointing for rugby and for the All Blacks.”
It was the answer the media wanted, but no members of the rugby-going public would think that their actions had anything to do with the All Blacks. The notion is ridiculous. Journalists know it’s ridiculous. But their job is to try it on, to see how far they can push organisations.
NZ Rugby would have been better to say they were not talking about the issue because; “what they do now is up to them, and nothing to do with us.”
Tew did in fact say something like that. In the media scrum they stupidly fronted, he observed quite correctly, that the two men “left our employment some time ago and they’re grown men working in the world.”
It was too late. The media had the condemnation they wanted from Tew, as well as tut-tutting from patsy role-models John Kirwan and Kieran Reid rolled out by NZ Rugby. Kirwan passed moral judgement on Williams being out at 3am, about “mental makeup”, being a “citizen for life” and “working on yourself as a person.”
NZ Rugby has signaled it will take responsibility for, and comment on, the moral choices of over 1100 ex All Blacks.
Just look at how much trouble this could bring. In 2005 former All Black Andrew Hore was convicted killing a protected fur seal on the Otago coast. In 2012 former All Black Bryce Robins was charged with wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm of a patron at his pub. In 2013 former All Black Keith Robinson was convicted of assaulting a man during a pub crawl.
They’ve opened a whole new line of media whipping for themselves.