As an aspiring rugby journalist I sometimes write a story based on my opinion about the game, but I am always careful to back up that opinion with some facts, sometimes taking quotes directly from the law book, other times I present a rounded argument. But some of the inflammatory garbage that gets printed by our major newspapers makes me wonder if dropping a literary incendiary grenade and heading for the hills is what journalism is about.
This "article" by professional troll and Sunday News columist Doug Golightly, about why Ma'a Nonu should be an All Black, has to be one of the most fallacious, one eyed, and downright offensive articles published by the New Zealand media in some time. By then again, that seems to be Golightly's M.O.
He can't pass. He's ordinary on defence.
He hasn't got the vision to be selected in such a vital position.
Anyway, how can you play a Polynesian with dreadlocks there? It won't work.
Here we go again, I smell a comparison to Tana Umaga coming up here, something I have never quite understood. Sure they're both of Polynesian extraction and have dreadlocks, but that's where the similarities end. Umaga started out as a winger and moved in centre when he no longer had the speed, while Nonu lacks the speed to be a winger, but does have some devastating power in the midfield, something Umaga only developed late in his career.
It's all been said before about a player before Nonu. That bloke was the iconic Tana Umaga, who wasn't considered to be up to it as a genuine midfield maestro by the "Rodney Rednecks" out there. In fact, according to these "experts" Umaga couldn't pass, defend, break a tackle, kick or set up his wings.
Classic straw man argument here, stating a claim that nobody is actually making, then refuting it to make your position look stronger.
He was also a victim of the "what's a coconut doing out there?" syndrome so prevalent among many "white" rugby fans.
Hold on a second, did Golightly just say that? The crux of his argument here seems to be that if you don't think Nonu deserves to be an All Black, you're a racist. Well call me Bubbah McHillbilly, but I don't think Nonu should be an All Black and my reasons have nothing to do with the colour of his skin.
Golightly continues his insane ramblings for a while but then, almost by accident, stumbles onto a good point.
He's (All Black assistant coach Wayne Smith) more likely to go with the safe Stephen Brett option depriving Ma'a of linking up with another dynamic player North Harbour's Anthony Tuitavake.
Showing his disdain for Smith by calling him "the nutty professor" and "flaky", Golightly then mentions what could be an excellent midfield pairing for the All Blacks. Modern rugby has moved on from having two battering rams in the midfield, these days a second five is from the same mould as the first five, with many players who played first five for most of their careers moving out to play there such as Aaron Mauger or Matt Giteau.
However, Brett at second five with his kicking game to complement that of Dan Carter, and Tuitavake as centre with his ability to break the line with speed, skill or power would indeed be an exciting combination.
The reason I would not have Nonu in my team is quite simple: discipline. For every good thing Nonu does on the field, he evens up the ledger by doing something stupid, giving away penalties, picking up yellow cards and getting suspended. In the 2008 Super 14 season Nonu picked up two yellow cards and a one week suspension, not bad for 13 rounds.
Not only is his disciplinary record poor, Nonu has a bad habit of cracking under pressure, dropping easy passes, taking poor options or trying to win the game single handedly. Friday's game against the Blues should have been the stage where Nonu showed his class, instead he was conspicuously quiet.
So Mr Golightly, that is why I would not have Nonu in my team, and the accusation of racism is disgusting and low, even for you. Personally I would pick Tuitavake or Casey Laulala at centre, both of Polynesian extraction, leaving your mindless racist rhetoric dead in the water.