The Government appointed Rugby World Cup Ambassador, Andy Haden has been retained after making the following comment:
“Once they’ve recruited three, that’s it. That’s their ceiling. Three darkies… no more,”
Now I want Bullrush back, I’m hardly a PC hardliner, but this comment is not simply about PC it is an unbelievably naive and dated racial slur.
I don’t care what you call the role, it is a leadership position in arguably New Zealand’s premium sport and I am appalled to have Haden associated with the sport and take the view of New Zealand and specifically rugby back to the 70’s. And if this is the language of Rugby culture in general then how sad is that?
However in the context of this blog it is the Governments response which has annoyed me. They made the appointment. They need to stand accountable. This breach is so fundamental that there are no apologies, no second chances, no excuses.
I can think of plenty of respectable ex-All Blacks that could have filled this role (Sir Brian Lochore, Tana Umaga, Michael Jones, Andrew Merhtens, and plenty more). So scarcity can’t be a reason, in fact the number of suitable candidates only makes it more insulting that he hasn’t been ejected with the greatest haste.
Why take a chance that this is going to self-right? How could it be considered worse to put someone else in the role?
I can understand in normal employment you may issue a first verbal warning, but an ambassador by definition is ‘the highest ranking diplomat’.
How much further from the mark of being diplomatic could this appointee be.
And part of the reason given:
“He has, without any prompting from me, already publicly apologised for causing offence.”
Note to self: Remember to publicly apologise the next time I seriously breach my employees code of conduct.
Personally I’d kick this one for touch.