Monday, October 13, 2008

Will she be white, bro?

In case you missed it, Richard Boock wrote an article on racism in sport in yesterdays Sunday Star Times. BSport had a discussion on the subject, with Lonergan furious at what he percieves as a lack of representation on the board of SPARC and various other sporting bodies.

Now, I agree with Lonergan's points, but do we really need a quota of Polynesian/Maori people on sporting bodies? What is to says that Va'aiga Tuigamala [Lonergan's expert on the subject] is going to be any more representative of the group than somebody from a European-Kiwi background?

Let's not forget that this is New Zealand, where businesses and organisations are bound to stick to certain roles of the Treaty of Waitangi.

As to Boock's belief that there is a racist culture who believes that 'blacks' cannot play in pivotal roles in New Zealand, WHAT?

Mils Muliaina? Ma'a Nonu? Jesse Ryder? Michael Campbell? Piri Weepu?

Those who argue that the lack of Polynesian/Maori's at top level Hockey, Cricket, Athletics etc, I'd suggest you look at American sport. I was having a discussion on the subject with my flatmate who hails from Boston not so long ago. What he was saying was that the reason there are not many black quarterbacks or kickers is to do with the upbringing of these children, not the coaching structure.

What Ben was saying was that the majority of African-American's involved in NFL originally started on a path toward professional basketball. It seems that due to the way the American structure works, these kids get into NCAA Basketball, but get poached by football coaches shortly afterward as the athletic skills required by wide receivers and safety's are similar to those required by basketballers. Ben claims that this is now a career path that kids in the States actively pursue.

On top of that, he said that the kids from the ghetto areas are more likely to go after basketball as they know someone who has 'made it', can participate with friends and... The costs are low, with a ball the only equipment neccessary.

Well, while New Zealand isn't a parallel of that, I think that the 'minor' sports miss out on that Polynesian/Maori experience due to a lack of funding and exposure. When is the last time you heard of a New Zealand Hockey player being sent to Europe for a year to develop their skills? Or how about an NZ football signing a $2m contract?

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