Don`t take the knighthood Richie

By   /   November 9, 2015  /   27 Comments

TDB recommends Voyager - Unlimited internet @home as fast as you can get

Don`t accept the knighthood Richie ,your extraordinary accomplishments and those of the team speak for themselves , they require no further adornment.

11879804_10207144329394327_1793864880_o

In October 2003 All Black selector Mark Shaw launched a tirade against the rugby media –

`You`ve got a lot of fleas in the system. They write shit they`ve got no idea what of what they`re talking about`.

In his view the press had become  tabloid, hungry for headlines and less analytical about the game. In these circumstances one could not waste time `talking footy with fleas`. Shaw and team coach John Mitchell, both ex-All Blacks, were focused on the rugby World Cup of that year. The media were an irritant, winning the tournament would answer all their criticisms.

We now know that this strategy failed dismally.

Australia won the semi-final and senior All Blacks were taunted by the victors- `four more years !`. John Mitchell was shown the door instantly, before the media rounded for the kill.  Mr Shaw had a point though. Non- specialist media exploit the All Black profile for commercial-tabloid purposes regardless of results. Lose, and hyper-critical columnists  channel popular disappointment.

Handwringing post-mortems pervade broadcast media. Win, and fawning media personalities will squeeze the last dollar from every tabloid angle and patriotic trope. We are all enjoined to be goodwill ambassadors for the team.

In one sense this is not suprising, the media has always reflected rugby union`s cultural centrality. Something changed though when the game became professional and fully commercialised from 1996. Each contracted All Black was expected to sign merchandise, wear corporate logos and pose for photographs designed to enhance the marketing objectives of  major sponsors. High profile players routinely endorsed a range of products and services. At the same time  commercially driven media organisations treated the All Blacks as an endlessly productive ATM machine. Banner headlines, columns, colour pics, interviews, gossip pieces, rugby banter among talkback hosts , DJ`s,TV newsreaders, inane reports from outside the team hotel…..all of this translated into ratings , readership and advertising dollars.

Social media intensifies the process; constant web updates, video footage, twitter feeds and facebook chat –  all fuel for the 24/7 news cycle.

There is also political capital to be made, as our Prime Minister well knows. Before this World  Cup the All Black squad announcement came from Parliament buildings rather than a non-political venue. After the heartstopping  semifinal  win over the Springboks the PM  turned up in the All Black dressing room, open-necked shirt ,beer in hand. The web pic of him with the much taller Sam Whitelock went viral and was followed by a congratulatory tweet to hammer the not so subtle  point home.

`Hello I`m John Key Prime Minister of New Zealand and leader of the National Party, I`m cool with the All Blacks and their success enhances my popularity`.

Before the final Key chatted amiably to Mike Hoskings in London, live on radio to wellwishers back in New Zealand. After the All Blacks victory over Australia and the raising of the trophy he pulled back. No cringeworthy pics from the players` dressing room, just a nice neutral photo with Andrew Little, leader of the Labour Party. The Prime Minister`s advisors and internal polling feedback must have warned him about a possible backlash from rugby fans.

Mark Shaw`s criticisms of the tabloid media are also applicable to politicians.  Yet, it seems that the Prime Minister still can`t help himself. On Monday November 2nd John Key confirmed that All Black Skipper Richie McCaw would be offered a knighthood after leading New Zealand to two World Cup wins.   In an interview with TV 3`s Paul Henry on Wednesday November 4th  the Prime Minister spoke again on the knighthood issue, on Richie McCaw`s behalf. Viewers were informed that McCaw wasn`t philosophically opposed to a knighthood and that he would most likely take it upon retirement. In this regard Key remarked that `we are  pretty close but I don`t bother asking him`.

This is clearly a breach of etiquette if not of privacy and it is also disingenuous. The All Black captain was offered a knighthood after winning the 2011 World Cup even though he was committed to playing on. Clearly, from McCaw`s perspective, training with his peers and running on to the field as a `Sir` would have  diluted the team ethos.

Upon retirement, however, there are still good reasons not to accept the knighthood.

The connection between  rugby union, English royalty and the English ruling class is alien to the culture of the New Zealand game.  That’s why beating England at Twickenham has always motivated All Black teams and coaches. And, while it was marvellous to see the All Black captain raise the trophy, the role of Prince Harry in presenting the medals seemed at odds with the egalitarian All Black culture advanced by coach, players and captain. Within New Zealand, the offer of a knighthood  signifies entry into the ruling establishment. In this case, the establishment and its ruling party gain capital from the players ,our men in black who actually do the hard work. So, don`t accept the knighthood Richie ,your extraordinary accomplishments and those of the team speak for themselves , they require no further adornment. Taking such a stance would cut through the commercial and political clutter and present you as a true New Zealander.

***
Want to support this work? Donate today
***
Follow us on Twitter & Facebook
***

27 Comments

  1. Kate Kate says:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ra1M7XyyIDA&ebc=ANyPxKojoNIjGVmi5wQYt8uN0pu7s9yht53cxNOJ32hQAJQzzvajA4U_QIwrHgMjX7k_g2Sf06lr

    Just had to paste this somewhere here. National Geographic, Bill Nye in Global Meltdown, also stars the Terminator. Sorry for bombing your post Wayne I just can’t find where else to put this and it is important. Guy McPherson also is in this ‘amazing stories’. Near Term Human Extinction, just went mainstream. I hope the link works.

    P.s I agree with you Wayne.

  2. Tiger Mountain says:

    Richie’s decision will settle once and for all the question of whether or not he is truly a tory toady

    it could be possible I suppose to be a Nat supporter but not accepting of some of the issues Wayne raises, even a neutral current or going for selection All Black would have to keep his lip zipped

    nationalism and support for Nats just cry out for co-option of the ABs to complete some weird trifecta for FJK

  3. Jack Ramaka says:

    McCaw will be seen in a better light if he rejects the knighthood from his buddy John Key

  4. mary_a says:

    Agree.

    Richie McCaw is way too good and decent a person to be the recipient of a knighthood. It would be an insult to him.

    Honour Richie with something he’s more worthy of instead.

    With the exception of the likes of Ed Hillary and Peter Blake, leave the knighthoods to the arrogant, devious, reprobates! There are plenty of them out there, particularly here in NZ! Richie McCaw is definitely not one of them.

  5. Fern says:

    Well said, Wayne. I started thinking about this knighthood business several weeks ago and my instincts said No, Richie, don’t accept it.
    I don’t have any problems with people getting a gong when they have done notable things, especially in a leadership role, but in this case I feel that it would not enhance the team’s accomplishments – in fact quite the opposite – although I couldn’t explain why.

  6. ALH84001 says:

    Nah, McCaw will accept it. Him and Key are on very ‘special’ terms…..

  7. Carlos says:

    I think it’s rather telling that John Key wants to get rid of the Union Jack on our flag but still wants to keep knighthoods etc. Why gid rid of the symbol of our commonwealth connection on the flag but still keep that connection through outdated English knighthoods etc?
    It doesn’t make sense to me. Either we are part of the monarchy or not, hiding the Union Jack doesn’t change that fact.
    There should just be an NZ version of honouring our “heroes” if rugby is so important to everyone.

    • Winnie says:

      Yes Carlos similar sort of “doublethink” to John Key not being able to remember his stance on the Springbok Tour in 1981, but all over the All Blacks like jock itch.

      Hypocritical weasel.

  8. e-clectic says:

    Interesting to compare with David Pocock. Not only an activist but shares recipes.

  9. ilicit says:

    Wayne, i Hope he goes with your advice !!!

  10. Pete says:

    As a rugby tragic with history in many aspects of the game I would say that Richie McCaw has established a history that transcends all others.

    There was a purity, a gold in him being everyone’s favourite player, everyone’s favourite son, a favourite Kiwi.

    That has gone. For many he has turned into John Key’s toy, John Key’s puppet. The purity now is in the perfect example the Key/McCaw relationship is of the grasping, opportunist, populist greasy nature of John Key.

    Undoubtedly McCaw has been put in an awkward position. That is irrelevant to the the Great Leader. McCaw has been pimped by someone who is not worthy of even licking the dirt from between his sprigs.

    • Fern says:

      Pete, I think I love you 🙂

      • Winnie says:

        I absolutely agree Fern, Pete hits Key-oil’s sycophancy right on the head.

        I saw Pete first though Fern and I am older than you – I claim “cougar” priority rights. 😉

    • Shona says:

      you are so rightPete.
      I think of Key as McCaw’s Haemorrhoid now.

    • mary_a says:

      You got it in one there Pete. Very true.

      FJK will destroy Richie McCaw. It’s what he does. Particularly if McCaw refuses the knighthood, which would be a real slap in the face for FJK.

      • Winnie says:

        BTW – didn’t the All Blacks each get a $150,000 bonus for winning the World Cup? Where did that money come from? What were the “conditions” for the money to be handed over?

        Were there any fish-hooks with the money such as allowing access to changing rooms?

  11. Pete says:

    As a rugby tragic with history in many aspects of the game I would say that Richie McCaw has established a history that transcends all others.

    There was a purity, a gold in him being everyone’s favourite player, everyone’s favourite son, a favourite Kiwi.

    That has gone. For many he has turned into John Key’s toy, John Key’s puppet. The purity now is in the perfect example the Key/McCaw relationship is of the grasping, opportunist, populist greasy nature of John Key.

    Undoubtedly McCaw has been put in an awkward position. That is irrelevant to the Great Leader. McCaw has been pimped by someone who is not worthy of even licking the dirt from between his sprigs.

  12. david says:

    Leave Ritchie alone. Don’t include him in your proxy war. I think most non-political people don’t give a rats arse what he does.
    Power to him, he has achieve so much, it’s his decision. Whatever it is, it doesn’t diminish him in any way.

    • XRAY says:

      It’s John Key and his quest for ever lasting popularity that is the problem, not people taking about. He is like a parasite leaching off the All Blacks and most especially off McCaw. It’s embarrassing how over the top the blood sucking is off his latest host. He even managed to draw Richie into the bloody flag bullshit.

      Remember when Dean Barker was in line for a knighthood, until he lost. Instantly dead to Key because he was of no further use.

      McCaw anc tge All Blacks should be very wary of entertaining a person as patently using and as increasingly polarising as John Key, it will bite them!

      • david says:

        Show me a politician that does do that. It’s a tradition that a politician is booed at an awards ceremony. Helen Clark knew the importance of being seen, and travelled very very fast not to miss an All Blacks game. Even though she rather be climbing a mountain somewhere else.

        In the future, a sportsperson refusing a Knighthood from a Labour PM, does it mean that they are anti-Labour? A slap it the face? Far stretch.

        Ritchie refusing a Knighthood after the 2007 world cup is a political statement? Nah, I take his word for it, that as an active player, it’s awkward. Can you smash a Knight?

        This a battle you can’t win, don’t try. When he accepts the knighthood, you have associated one of the most popular sportsperson with the party you despise. Most sensible people try to avoid positive associations with the other side. They try to minimise and ignore; not advertise the association.

  13. XRAY says:

    I went to a pub for the final and it was crowded. When the camera panned on Key there was a collective groan from the crowd in the pub.

    This man is nowhere near as popular as the PR men would have it.

    And like you say his advisers/David Farrar have probably focused grouped and found he looks like one of those annoying yappy little dogs that shits on your lawn and looks just like he’s humping Ritchie’s leg. This jerk can’t do anything without a script and when he forgets his lines it’s tragically dishonest!

    Don’t do it Rich, you will join that infamous club along with Doug Graham and Michael Faye amongst others.

    • Winnie says:

      Yep XRAY the “yappie little dog” that dry-humps your leg while you are sitting down for a chat and a drink with your mates in the changing room after a big match.

      Yep XRAY, the “yappie little dog” that jumps up on the back of the sofa and tugs on your WAGS’ ponytails.

      Love that yappie little dog analogy XRAY. You see through the charade and try-hard-ness of it all.

  14. D'Esterre says:

    For the first time in my life, I’m in agreement with Griz Wyllie on something, and it’s this. I heard an interview with Wyllie on NatRad, in which he said that McCaw shouldn’t accept a knighthood, because the All Blacks’ success is a team effort and it would be wrong to single one person out, captain or no.

    • Winnie says:

      Yep D’Esterre I remember what the National Party did with the stolen Eminem song “Lose yourself!” and the National Sculling eight ad. http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/10504690/Eminem-sues-National-over-election-ad

      The next election campaign, it will be John Key-oil and the National Party scrumming against a rabble of opposition, for a pushover try. Richie will step up and say :

      “You backed me and the boys as the winners in 2015 John, and backed me for my knighthood, I’m backing you for PM in 2017. That way I won’t break the law by tweeting you on election day”

      This ad was brought to you by Sir Richie McCaw. Who knows, they might even try to use “The world in union” for their theme music in 2017.

  15. John Gaul says:

    I don’t think Richard McCaw will accept the knighthood because he, if in his right mind, he would feel as though he would be pushed into doing it?
    What would you expect a man from Otago who is considered a Cantabrian?
    anyway Great WE. thanks.

  16. Gezza says:

    I dunno. All round good guy and captain of two rugby world cup-winning All Black teams. Diplomatic, self-effacing sort of chap. Refused a knighthood when first offered it because rightly didn’t feel he’d earned it. If he accepts a knighthood when he retires I’d think I’d be ok with it. Especially when you look at some of the other government toadies who routinely get them doled out for doing nothing more than getting themselves appointed to some lucrative sincecure.



Authorised by Martyn Bradbury, The Editor, TheDailyBlog, 5 Victoria St East/Queen St, CBD, Auckland, New Zealand.