Rugby Union apology

On Friday, the New Zealand Rugby Union apologised to New Zealand for not allowing Maori All Blacks to play in South Africa in the past. Also on Friday, the South African Rugby Union apologised to New Zealand and to the South African black people who could not play for their country.

This was the time of apartheid in South Africa when white people and black people were separated. South Africans love rugby in the same way as New Zealanders love rugby. However, the Springboks (the South African team) were white players. They invited the All Blacks to South Africa in 1928, 1949 and 1960 but only white players. The Rugby Union accepted the invitations. In 1960, 150,000 New Zealanders signed a petition to say that the All Blacks should not go. There were protests and some Pakeha All Blacks said they would not tour South Africa if Maori players could not go. However, in the end an all white All Blacks team went to South Africa.

In 1981, the Springboks toured New Zealand. There was still apartheid in South Africa. Many New Zealanders wanted our government to stop the tour but Prime Minister, Mr Muldoon, said that politics should stay out of sport. The tour split our country ā€“ about half the people wanted to stop the tour and the other half wanted it to continue. There were huge protests, and in one case, the rugby game had to be stopped as protesters broke through fences and crowded onto the field. Police wore riot gear ā€“ helmets and shields ā€“ and carried batons for hitting people. It was a terrible time in our history.

After 1981, there were no more games between the All Blacks and the Springboks until apartheid had gone in the 1990s.

Listen to January 10th 2010 for more about protests at sporting events.

Questions to think about

1. Is it possible to keep politics out of sport?
2. Think about Olympic Games. Why is there a medal count for each country? Is this politics?
3. Do players want to win for themselves or for their country?
4. Is an apology 50 years later helpful? Is it too late?

One Comments

  1. trying to respond: I think it promotes a discussion at least no matter the time those causes are always coming back again n again. There is players n players, ones wanna win for money others for fame other selfrealization n so on or all together. Yes it is politics, the government should never interfere in it. It is possible n right but the athletes are individuals n they should be free to express their opinion

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