So I read David Coltart’s plea to the New Zealand government regarding their cancelled (or postponed) tour to Zimbabwe in June. Pretty passionate stuff, but rather more polite than I would like.
Basically, the New Zealand government ordered the team not to tour, citing concerns over “player safety”. That was done to shield the board from having to pay ZC damages for cancelling the tour – it would be a lot of money, factoring in TV revenues and probably punitive damages as well.
Coltart alludes to this in his (rather lawyerly) letter to the New Zealand Herald, writing:
“I cannot help but feel that there are unspoken reasons behind the New Zealand Government’s decision to discourage the New Zealand cricket team from touring Zimbabwe in June 2010.”
What interests me is a comment in reply to this letter, although I don’t give much credit to anonymous website comments. Heh.
A “Zimbabwean citizen” boldly states this:
“As long a human rights continue to be abused in Zimbabwe, this country must be shunned.”
He clearly says that NZ shouldn’t tour because of the political status quo. Compare and contrast this with the NZ gov’t whitewash of “player safety”.
That, in my opinion, is the height of cowardice on the part of John Key and co.
If you want to take the moral high ground, at least have the courage of your convictions. At least have the balls to say “Look, we don’t like Bob, we’ve never liked Bob, so we’re not going there.” Finish. Clear.
Spineless whining about player safety, which is an outright lie, can only paint a negative picture of NZ cricket (and indeed, all Kiwis) in my (black, Zimbabwean) eyes.
Conversely, Key himself displayed his ignorance to the situation in Zimbabwe recently:
“But Mr Key said he doubted if Mr Coltart could even come to New Zealand, because of international sanctions against the regime of President Robert Mugabe.”
Hey there John Key, David Coltart has been an enemy of that “regime” for years, he’s actually in the democratic movement, you ignorant mug. Mr Coltart is not on any sanctions list, which is something you’d know if you even bothered to do the most basic research about Zimbabwean politics before making pronouncements.
It also serves to reinforce my theory that some cricketers (or cricket administrators) heard “ZIMBABWE” and immediately cowered behind the nearest sheep, begging the Prime Minister to come bail them out.
Well, feck that. We don’t want to postpone. We don’t want to play at a neutral venue. Your player safety concerns are baseless, and if you want to avoid Zimbabwe so you don’t have to take a photo with Mugabe, find your testicles and say it. And pay the consequences.
Comment is free, but fact is sacred. Put your money where your mouth is, New Zealand Cricket.