Thursday, June 30, 2005

What about the players?

Evil House Monkey pointed me at an article on CricInfo, where Andrew McLean asks the above question: what about the players? They have sporting careers to think about, and for some this may be their only chance ever to play an international match. To which I think the only response can be that there are some things more important than cricket, and any player (such as, say, Jacob Oram) who thinks otherwise is exhibiting colossal moral blindness.

Of greater concern is the fact that the players depend on cricket for their livelihood and would suffer a large financial loss (up to $40,000) if the tour did not go ahead. I'm sympathetic to this, and my natural instinct is to compensate them if the government forces the tour to be cancelled. But there's no legal obligation to do so, and if the players manage to lose that sympathy (by, say, making more dumb comments like Oram's putting cricket ahead of torture and human rights abuses), well, fuck them. I'm willing to compensate helpless victims caught in the middle, but I'm not willing to pay off people who are simply arseholes.

More generally, McLean trots out the tired old argument that "sport is separate from politics". But this is simply another example of moral blindness. Sport does not happen in a vaccuum, and who people play sport with has political and moral consequences. Sports teams such as the Black Caps are seen as official representatives and their presence as conveying official approval. By touring Zimbabwe, the Black Caps will not just be conveying their own personal approval of the Mugabe regime as fit people to visit and talk with - but also, by implication, that of every other New Zealander. And I don't see why we should tolerate an unelected body doing that at all.


I'm a helper!
evil house monkey.

Posted by Anonymous : 6/30/2005 11:23:00 PM

Nick.....This noise coming from the left isn't about torture and human rights, it's about back patting and election campaigning. Dont be fooled and believe this has anything to do with the suffering of the people of Zimbabwe.

Posted by Anonymous : 6/30/2005 11:48:00 PM

Which is why they have made such a noise prior to the cricketers going....oh hang on.

Posted by Anonymous : 7/01/2005 12:03:00 AM

"Arsehole" is exactly how I would describe someone who does not care about the abuses of the Mugabe regime and is willing to profit from it.

So far the players have played this very carefully; they've managed to convey the impression of sympathy and of being helplessly caught in the middle, but every single one of them has chosen to go, and not a man among them is speaking out to demand NZC or the government find them a way out. Unpacking this, it seems that they do not actually give a shit. Fortunately, the public seems to be wising up to this, and pressure may soon start being applied to the players to speak up and be counted.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 7/01/2005 12:19:00 AM

"sport is separate from politics"
"Sport is seperate from morals."
"sports men are seperate from morals"
no problems there...

Posted by Genius : 7/01/2005 01:10:00 AM

Thanks for the compliments, Anon.

As for National, I'm pleased to see them adopting a moral position, and while paying off the ICC has its flaws, like many New Zealanders I'm willing to pay simply in order to get them to go away. As for voting for them, I don't see the tour as an election issue, and there are other policy areas I'll be judging parties on (like not making Don Brash PM, for one).

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 7/01/2005 01:19:00 AM

There are eight other countries in the ICC to play cricket against - cricket careers last about 15 years, so it's a bit much to suggest that it's any players "only chance".

Zimbabwe isn't really up to test standard anyway after Mugabe forced most of the good players out. Possibly Fiji, Canada or Kenya might welcome some games if the players want an alternative touring destination.

Posted by Rich : 7/01/2005 10:39:00 AM

Ghet: Oh, I certainly intend to raise my voice about that when the time comes, unless China shows significant progress on the human rights front in the meantime. They've taken some baby steps, but there's a lot more that needs to be done.

Nick: I opposed Musharraf's visit here on the basis of Pakistan's human rights record, and I'd oppose any visit by a national sports team bearing our flag to a country where torture is systemic and approved by the government, or where gross abuses of human rights are occuring.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 7/01/2005 01:32:00 PM

So what did you do when the breakers toured?

Posted by Anonymous : 7/01/2005 03:02:00 PM

Nothing, because I didn't know about it.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 7/01/2005 04:24:00 PM