New Zealand rugby must change its outdated attitudes towards women and sexual orientation, and get over its culture of entitlement, an independent review into the culture of the country’s beloved national sport has found.
The Respect and Responsibility Review was commissioned by New Zealand Rugby after a string of serious incidents last year, where players from the Chiefs rugby team were accused of groping, licking and throwing gravel at an erotic dancer they had hired for their end-of-season party, as well as making homophobic comments to a gay couple.
It found that NZ Rugby had investigated 36 incidents of misconduct in the last four years, including cases of violence, inappropriate sexual comments, homophobia, and drug and alcohol breaches.
The nine-member review panel was made up of professionals from outside NZ Rugby and featured six women, including Olympic kayaker Lisa Carrington, Jackie Barron from Sport New Zealand and the Law Society president, Kathryn Beck.
The report found “there is a mood for change” in New Zealand and the country’s beloved national sport needed to evolve its outdated attitudes towards women and sexual orientation, and get over its culture of entitlement.
It’s certainly true that one way to describe rugby culture is “excessively male.” We might even say that it’s in the nature of the sport itself. Tribal and physical combat between groups of young men.
That this must change is less evident. Imagine that this is the distillation of masculinity – no, imagine that it is. Isn’t it reasonable and fair that there be a part of the world that reflects that part of humanity? Just as it’s entirely reasonable that consenting adults can create micro-cultures which reflect other aspects of that same human nature?
We’ve even that other well known societal outcome, that as actual gender equality in the wider world increases then we get more of the minor differentiation.
Why wouldn’t a liberal society allow rugger buggers to be rugger buggers?