There were a lot of nice words thrown around today at the New Zealand Rugby press conference detailing their inquiry into The Chiefs’ scandal. But what did they really say? Alex Casey translates.
Today we got New Zealand Rugby’s definitive ruling on The Chiefs scandal. Last month a stripper named Scarlette alleged that while hired to perform at their Mad Monday celebrations, some of the Chiefs threw gravel at her, repeatedly touched her despite her denying consent and poured alcohol on her.
There was an apparently rigorous investigation into the events of the evening conducted by the general counsel of New Zealand Rugby – a guy who loves his job and has been on the NZR team for over a decade. Which means that one branch of New Zealand Rugby investigated another branch of New Zealand Rugby and found that everything was basically okay.
This is a little bit like Colonel Sanders being put in change of an inquiry into the 11 secret herbs and spices and pronouncing them delicious. At a press conference today three blokes delivered the verdict: everything is fine, none of it really happened and wow isn’t fried chicken the best.
There were a lot of key words thrown around today; “embarrassed” was one, “disappointed” was another, “inappropriate” was sprinkled in there to jazz things up. But there was no “sorry” – certainly none to the woman who spoke out in the first place.
Shockingly, The Spinoff has been told by a source that despite Scarlette herself being the origin of the allegations, she was the very last person spoken to during the investigation. Which would mean that only once they’d spoken to everyone else they possibly could, from friendly beer drinkers at the pub to striving bench players, only then did they get around to speaking to the person at the centre of this whole shitstorm.
Scarlette was, we understand, interviewed alone. Without any legal representation or support.
So with that in mind, what did The Chiefs and Rugby New Zealand actually say about what happened? Andrew Flexman admitted there had been heaps of “learnings” and I guess he’s right. At the end of the day it’s a game of two halves and the most important thing is to back the boys and four more years and chase great. Right?
Here are some key quotes from the conference and their associated learnings:
“This is a black mark”
The press conference focused almost solely on how disappointing the act of hiring a stripper was in the first place, because nobody else in New Zealand’s long history of prominent sportsmen has ever done anything like that. This type of entertainment isn’t appropriate, they said, it was a poor decision and inappropriate for a rugby team, they said. Paying for a scantily-clad woman to perform for you is bad. Not like those hot chicks who come out in booty shorts at half time, those ones are good.
The thing about these “black marks” in the sporting world is that they amazingly wash away after a good soak, and eventually it’s as if the whole thing never happened. Also, if we are going to have this much hoopla about a stripper, where’s our retrospective razzing of Richie and his mates for taking the world cup to an exclusive strip joint called Platinum Lace? No worries mate and, hey, Chasing Great out in all good cinemas now.
“The conclusions are valid and realistic”
Realistic, I take that to mean, because who could possibly believe that a large group of young men on the beers would exploit and disrespect a woman hired to dance for them on her own. The much more likely option is that the Scarlette made it up, because it’s very valid to note that women, especially those in the adult industry, are unhinged lying harlot banshees from the underworld and the boys are, well, the boys. Just look how well they kick the ball your honour, case closed.
What could Scarlette possibly have to gain from making the allegations up? Wow, just look at all the opportunities that have cropped up since! Two jobs lost, what a career boost! Meanwhile, the press conference was very focussed on the tarnished careers of these rugby players, who will have to wait until November’s pre-season before they can kick the ol’ ball around. The biggest blow to the poor guys is there being no sweet sweet My Food Bag delivery at their doorstep!
There has been a “full caution issued”
The whole team is being held accountable for the “poor decision-making”, instead of individual parties. Even the 16 players who weren’t there! Because if only one or two people were punished then that would suggest that something had actually happened, and absolutely nothing happened.
As has been observed on Twitter, The Chiefs are hugely embarrassed and disappointed about all the nothing that happened. They hope to rebuild from all the nothing to make a… something… but not before addressing all this nothing head-on.
The events were “not substantiated”
The men spoke of the “clear and unbiased account” of the witnesses involved, nine of which were independent from the Chiefs party. Having independent voices is good, so thank god the whole inquiry itself was run by New Zealand Rugby, the Chiefs’ owners. In response to her claims being unsubstantiated, Scarlette has issued this advice to women:
“My advice for all women is if you are going to attend an all-male event such as the one organised by the Chiefs, whether you are a paid worker or not, take a friend or a supporter who can make sure you are safe and who can vouch for you afterwards if needed.”
Again, we’re left to conclude the responsibility grimly falls on the woman to put the measures in place to protect her body and her testimony. Why didn’t she bring security? Why wasn’t she wearing an American flag lapel camera? Why didn’t she drag along a Justice of the Peace attached to a lie detector?
“It’s worth noting that the police haven’t taken further action”
It’s also worth noting that the police haven’t taken further action for reasons “which include consideration of her wishes”. This seems to indicate that it could have something to do with a reluctance on Scarlette’s part to submitting to our famously welcoming justice system – rather than simply a lack of evidence – which drove the Police’s decision-making.
Maybe worth noting that too?
Additional reporting: Duncan Greive
Subscribe to The Bulletin to get all the day’s key news stories in five minutes – delivered every weekday at 7.30am.