Our GAA reporter Declan Bogue casts his eye over to the weekend's biggest rugby talking point
I cannot decide what was funnier — was it the actual finger-wag from Simon Zebo towards Ulster’s young Michael Lowry, was it the schoolmasterly scolding issued by referee Nigel Owens, or was it in fact the skin-crawling series of sincere apologies from Zebo since to the public, to Lowry, to Ulster and (hilariously) to the ‘spirit of the game?’
What are we looking at here anyway? A man going over for a try has a little moment of indulgence and he is forced by his agent, his club and by all the moral arbitrators to flagellate himself raw in begging for forgiveness.
All this happened on Saturday. Soon after, we tune into the NBA, or the NFL. After practically every play, opponents showboat, taunt and goad each other. Some of this is actually encouraged by agents, for reasons we will explain.
Look at the ridiculous lengths NFL players go to in celebrating a touchdown.
Why do you think this is? It’s because these sideshows gain the players a place on any highlights reel package, leading to more publicity, more notice within a squad of several dozen, more endorsements and ultimately far more money.
The world of rugby is grimly holding on to the belief, rooted in class warfare, that their games are populated by a better class of people.
Gaelic Games sometimes has this problem, but that fig leaf has long since disappeared. Attempts to make recent on-pitch violence an exclusively Ulster problem has also failed in light of the scenes during the Kerry Championship last weekend.
We all need to see it for what it is — a rare moment of personality during a rugby game.
What is so wrong with that?