Go Take A Running Jump

I see the Stuff website is reporting that someone called Simon Arkwright is saying that the Crusaders’ rugby team “missed an opportunity” when they failed to change their name immediately after the mosque shootings in Christchurch. Stuff calls Arkwright a “sports marketing expert whose experience in the industry spans decades”. If that is the case he clearly hasn’t learned much.

Because the big danger here is the attitude of people like Arkwright. He is the one throwing abuse; accusing the Crusaders of racial views; alienating New Zealanders along a racial and religious divide. And all over the name of a football team. The guy is an idiot.

Let’s look at some of the things he says.

Arkwright said he saw parallels with the 1981 Springboks tour in the nature of the debate,

To compare the discussion about the name of a rugby team with years of apartheid abuse in South Africa is irresponsible rubbish. What is Arkwright trying to do? Does he want police in riot gear marching down Colombo Street demanding the Crusaders change their name? Thankfully the Crusaders’ CEO and Coach took a more measured view. Thankfully they called for time to discuss and decide what was best. Thankfully they didn’t invoke memories of Springbok riots.

But he believed those opposed to a name change were displaying a degree of “arrogance”.”When you knowingly have a name that causes significant and justified offence to a section of the community, personally I think you are pretty arrogant to say that doesn’t matter.”

If someone like Arkwright is prepared to dredge up memories of the Springbok tour he is not going to be shy about insulting those who disagree with his views. Sure enough those who want the name Crusaders to stay are accused of causing “significant and justified offence to a section of the community”. What he is saying, is supporters of the Crusaders’ name are racists. That is not true and it’s bloody irresponsible and insulting to suggest that it is.

But of course to really drive his point home idiots like Arkwright have to make the issue bigger than the name of a rugby team. A self-important bigot needs to have a social cause. There has to be a larger social “crusade” at stake. So this is what he says.

“These flashpoints tend to reflect peoples’ wider views of society and that’s the trouble with some of these issues. You would have realised that one of your threats in this world of Trumpism and extreme right-wing views was that you had a name that wasn’t a great fit.

Here Arkwright stakes out his racist position. Those who support the Crusaders keeping their name are a flashpoint threat to society, linked forever to the extreme right-wing world of Trumpism. What a load of rubbish. The really dangerous bugger around here is Mr. Arkwright. In less than 1000 words he has linked the name of a South Island rugby team to the Springbok riots, to serious personal failings and to the death of a young woman in Charlottesville.  The name of the Canterbury rugby team is not 1000 young men marching down a street with gas-lights yelling “Jews will not replace us.” For Arkwright to link the two is the real travesty here.

Besides if you work hard enough I doubt there is a team name that doesn’t offend someone.

Fancy John Kirwan coaching the “Blues”. He should know better. He is the spokesman for mental health foundation. His website is something like depression.org and he coached a team called the “Blues”. That’s not good.

And then there is the Chiefs. That must be racial stereotyping if ever there was. Some of those chiefs were pretty aggressive buggers as well. You need to look at that name Mr. Arkwright.

What about the Highlanders. On April 16 1746 thousands of Highlanders were butchered by the English at the Battle of Culloden. In subsequent weeks 1000s of Highlanders were hunted and killed. Perhaps Mr. Arkwright needs to look seriously at that bloody history.

Oh, and while he’s doing that he really should spare a thought for the 1,514 people killed in hurricanes last year. It’s a bit insensitive to name the Wellington rugby team after the weather that caused such destruction.

Between 30 and 100 people are killed by sharks each year. That name is out. In Tanzania alone 50 people are killed each year by lions. There’s another team up for a change. Jaguar and cheetah attacks on human beings are rare but might be worth some Arkwright research.

When Olympic Champion, Rhi Jeffrey, arrived in New Zealand I picked her up from Auckland airport. As we drove into town Rhi exclaimed, “Gee, you would never see that in the United States.” I looked around and could only see a car with four Polynesian men driving past. “What do you mean?” I asked. “Look what’s written on their car.” Rhi said. I looked again – “ALL BLACKS” it said. Rhi of course had no idea that was the name of the national rugby team. In the eye of the beholder, I guess.

I’m sure you get the point. And so in spite of the suggestion that I should be tied behind a pickup truck and dragged through the streets of Christchurch I’m happy for the Crusaders to keep their distinctive and successful name.

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