|Rugby is all about respect for each other, it always has, and it always needs to be. It is up there with the basic principle of running forward and passing backwards, it is what makes our game unique. |
Like us and many millions across the world, we watched a truly sensational international test match on Saturday night in Paris. It was a spectacular performance; our team, who had been written off only last Autumn and ridiculed by certain members of the press, came within minutes of an historic grand slam. A team that has sacrificed family life over the last few months to represent us, the people of this proud nation.
Everyone makes mistakes, whether that be a referee, a player, or you and I, we would not be human if we didn’t. Many of us enjoy a bit of banter, some would say it is part of the game. But let’s be clear – there is line between banter and personal attacks. It’s quite simple, if a comment is made with the intention of hurting someone mentally or physically it’s not banter; nor should it be accepted or passed off as banter. It is personal abuse.
It doesn’t matter what part of Wales you are from or what region (or club) shirt you wear, personal abuse can cause a significant mental health impact on a person. We all have feelings and emotions, and professional rugby players are not exempt from this. The fact that these players are in a privileged position is irrelevant; they have worked very hard to get where they are and put their bodies at risk and in harm’s way on a daily basis. Like many of us, one never knows what a player is going through; a negative comment could be the very statement that stops them from it keeping it all together, and playing in a sport that they not only love, but is a release from the outside pressures of life. Ultimately they are like you and me but with an undeniable good talent at playing rugby with an elite level of fitness that many of us could only dream of.
We stand united with the men that have represented us so brilliantly over the last few months and condemn in the strongest forms the abuse that was seen on social media over the weekend. We call on the social media outlets to do more to prevent and report these statements so appropriate action can be taken by the authorities.
However, education is just as important and this begins at home. Making comments of personal abuse is not clever, impressive, or funny. We note that some individuals that made these comments through social media have since apologised. But to those who haven’t and think that is acceptable to hide behind a keyboard, we invite you to get in touch with us to learn more about the game of rugby, its traditions, the family ethos, and the respect shown to each other. You need only come to the Cardiff Arms Park to get a sense of what the rugby community is and means to many, so feel free to come see us and we will show you what it is really all about.
Cardiff Blues Brothers Chair on behalf of the Cardiff Blues Brothers
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