In an episode of Alice Snedden’s Bad News five years in the making, the comedian finally gets a chance to put some questions to NZ Rugby.
Rugby is our national game, a beloved bloodsport that makes heroes of everyone who pulls on the black jersey to represent our nation. But if the All Blacks are such a powerful cultural institution in Aotearoa, why have they never fronted a domestic violence campaign? It’s been five years since New Zealand Rugby’s respect and responsibility review, so what’s changed?
In the final episode of Alice Snedden’s Bad News, Snedden looks back at the litany of scandals that have plagued rugby over the last decade and asks how rugby became so enmeshed with toxic masculinity? As former first XV player and comedian Joe Daymond explains, it was baked into him as a young man. “Especially if you go to an all-boys school, the only time you interact with women is when you are on the piss after a game.”
“It was scary when it was a prospect for guys who had done it for four years in high school, imagine guys that are professional rugby players who do it for 20 years?”
New Zealand Rugby CEO Mark Robinson says that the respect and responsibility review held a mirror up to rugby and revealed how they could improve their cultural environment. The last two years have seen resource cuts thanks to Covid-19 which have delayed some of the changes, but Robinson insists that progress is being made. “It’s certainly not been forgotten in totality, that is an area that we really want to stand up again.”
Criminologist Dr Lynzi Armstrong says that there has been a “culture of silence” around rugby for decades. “We can’t think about that culture of silence as relating to spectators, but we can also think of it as relating to organisations.” Then, in a sequence that has to be seen to be believed, Snedden reveals what happened the first time she tried to make this episode of Bad News, way back in 2018.