News24

Lam slams racist critics

2012-04-11 09:58

Wellington - Under-fire Blues coach Pat Lam says there is a racial motivation to some of the criticism he and his team have received after a poor start to the Super Rugby season.

Lam said some critics have concentrated on his Samoan background and the Pacific Island and Maori heritage of many Blues players when attacking the team over the 1-5 start to the season.

"We totally accept the criticism that we get when we don't perform," an emotional Lam said on Wednesday. "But it's the racist people...the social media and talkback where people say things that are pretty offensive."

Lam twice broke down during a news conference, saying he was concerned such comments could affect his parents who came to New Zealand from Samoa. Lam said their sacrifices gave him the chance to play rugby to international level - he played one match for the All Blacks and 34 tests for Samoa - and to become a professional coach.

"It's sad, it really is," he said. "The question about the racist stuff is what I'm upset about.

"It's different when it's a racial thing. The emotion is about my parents."

Lam apologized to reporters as he was forced to pause and regather his composure.

"Certainly, my parents they gave up, um....sorry," he said. "They gave up, sacrificed themselves for us to come here and have a good life. So it hurts my parents. Sorry, sorry."

Lam said he realised the critics who resorted to racial abuse were a small minority but the comments still stung.

"I feel for all the guys in the team...Keven Mealamu and his family and all the boys that have Island backgrounds or Maori backgrounds. It's really offensive."

Lam said he was repelled by the "faceless people" who took advantage of the anonymity of social networks to make racist slurs.

"It's just sad that we live in a country where people, and it is only a minority - I know that - when they have a forum to speak and say that and people jump on the bandwagon," he said.

"It's been ongoing. We totally accept the criticism that we get, particularly when people put names on it. It's the faceless people and that's the social media and so forth and talkback where people say things that are pretty offensive."

Earlier on Wednesday, captain Mealamu said the Blues players retained full confidence in Lam.

"We do back our coach," heu said. "We want to do that by showing everyone on the field.

"I'm hurting at the moment. We are working hard to try to get our team back on track. Just really gutted we haven't got the season we wanted at the moment."

Mealamu took the unusual step of directly criticising his Blues and All Blacks team-mate Weepu for presenting himself at the start of the season at less than full fitness.

Weepu was a key figure in New Zealand's Rugby World Cup win last October but hit fitness appears to have dropped off severely after an extended break at the end of last season.

"He's disappointed he turned up in that sort of shape," Mealamu told Radio Sport. "From the team's point of view, he's a player we could definitely do with out there.

"We're all professionals here, we shouldn't turn up in that sort of shape."


AP

Comments
  • Heiku - 2012-04-11 10:07

    Wow.. what a dumb ass. These islanders have huge chips on their shoulders it seems.

      Stormkaap - 2012-04-11 10:28

      Whats so dumb about his comments.. Seems you are that dumd ass.

      Thando - 2012-04-11 10:31

      Dont criticize a man until you walk in his shoes

      joneethling - 2012-04-11 11:50

      Pat Lam does not need to have a chip on his shoulder to know that the world is full of sh1t for brains racists.

  • goyougoodthing - 2012-04-11 10:30

    Here we go again... wtf is he on about. Islanders make up a large proportion of the Auckland population, they also make up a large percentage of the unemployed doll bludgers, at least those in the Blues have jobs! I heard it when I lived in NZ and I hear it in SA... it is the same chip everywhere.

  • Justin - 2012-04-11 10:38

    Pat Lam was the biggest thug in world rugby as a player, always targeted the boks with shocking high tackles - he has a serious chip

      marnusmnorval - 2012-04-11 11:39

      Butch James? Bakkies Botha? Yes the springboks are such angels

      Massey - 2012-04-11 13:14

      Have to agree with Marnus, Butch James can't resist a good around the neck high tackle. He does it in every game. Very very bad for any team. I am not a Lion supporter, but i feel for them everytime Bucth is on the field.

  • Saffa - 2012-04-11 11:48

    C'mon the Blues - ignore the detractors and haters. Time for you boys to start playing some rugby. The potential amongst this team is incredible. Blues have been, and will always be my 2nd fave team in provincial rugby, and I have no doubt that Lam is speaking the truth here, as there are haters everywhere (all nations). GO BLUES!!!!!!!!

      Pierre - 2012-04-11 14:52

      Agree with saffa, haters everywhere. Blues are much better than that.

      Pierre - 2012-04-11 14:53

      saffa, surely the bulls should be your second fav team though?

  • Cassandra Olivier - 2012-04-11 12:13

    Just ignore them, they don't know what its like to play rugby on a professional level! I don't know what its like to be attacked for your colour but I know what it feels likes to be attacked because of my gender and because of the language i speak

      Jason - 2012-04-11 12:58

      Being attacked because of your gender is your parents fault for calling their son Cassandra (tic)

  • Cassandra Olivier - 2012-04-11 14:00

    @ Jason I can summaries that your parents where stupid to for naming there daughter Jason

  • tvanrayner1 - 2012-04-11 14:01

    Aint it the same New Zealanders who threw flour bombs on the field way back during South Africa/ new Zealand tests in protests against racist/apartheid South Africa. Just shows New Zealand, Australia, England ;america and the rest of the world are still racists n will remain racists as long as they can get the focus on South Africa. Realy Shocking but no surprise at all.

      EJ - 2012-04-11 16:21

      Your comment is ignorant itself. Just because there's an isolated incident of racism in one country doesn't mean racism is WIDESPREAD. If that were the case in NZ then you would have no Allblacks of island and maori heritage or any islanders in thier super rugby teams. You just need to look at their makeup of there super rugby teams to see how open policy works.

  • Juan-Carlos - 2012-04-11 16:21

    This Racism claim is a deflection from the true problem , which is that the Auckland Blues whom have the largest pool of talent to choose from in the NZ region yes which have a large percentage of New Zealand players of Polynesian and European descent in their ranks just have not cut the cut the mustard this year and last year and every year that Pat Lam has been in charge. This year they added Weepu and Nonu from the Hurricanes and still they are unable to muster a string of wins together , they have an impressive pack with All Blacks Mealamu , Woodcock , Boric , Williams , in the tight 5 this included Kaino until injured and in the backs Weepu , Ranger , Toeava , Nonu , Stanley , Wulf , Mathewson ,furthermore they have great talent coming through in the form of Hobbs , Lowery , Faumuina and Paulo yet with all this experience and talent there game plan , discipline and game management lets them down. They are like the Hurricanes of old white hot one week and terrible the next , perhaps the coach needs to focus and look closer into the teams failings and how to rectify then pulling out the race card crying colour and less on the eyes looking in whom rightly expect much better then they are getting from a true power house of the NZ game. I personally thing a new coach with a fresh out look. Perhaps next year Gordon Titchens needs to run his eye over the some of the players and improve there physical side and I would ask for Vern Cotter from the top 14

  • tvanrayner1 - 2012-04-11 16:56

    @EJ. Calling me ignorant wont solve racism. You are ignorant to say the least. As long as there are different races, racism exist. That so called isolated incident is just one that was spoken about by Pat Lam. Look at the racist incidents in English football, Aboreginis that stays in reserves in Australia, numerous inccidents of racist murders in the US to say the least. Tolerance of black players in teams doesnt mean there are no racism so get your facts right before you call me ignorant .

      EJ - 2012-04-11 17:58

      read my comment carefully. Im mentioning NZ. In no sense did I mention the US, UK or Australia which have a much deeper history of racism.

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