Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Case for Four More Years, NZ Style

Sometimes, I wonder if writers are aware of the reality of NZ Rugby. 

Take this article on the re-signing of super-All Black, Richie McCaw, following hard on the heels of the reporting of Daniel Carter’s decision to stay in New Zealand, also with the Canterbury Crusaders (though by his own admission, Carter spends a lot of his time in Auckland).

First off, let me just say I have nothing against the deal made with either McCaw or Carter, or Sonny Bill Williams for that matter.  That’s what employees and employers do – the employees demand what they want and it’s up to the employer to determine if that is what they are willing to pay.

What gets my goat is the praise heaped upon these people for accepting vast sums of money and conditions that they decided had to be worked into their agreements.  Sure, the players have decided to stay in New Zealand, and their decision to do so may not have been done on the lawns of Parliament, but lets get real here: these people got what they wanted and are getting handsomely paid.  Could they have earned more overseas?  Probably – and, for Carter at least, the promise of “sabbatical” time in his four-year contract means he still can go abroad and demand quite a bit for the experience. 

Of course, the money these men get from the NZRFU is just one source of income: Carter has quite a few highly visible endorsement earners with other companies (I would love to see the advertisement, “Dan Carter would choose Nikon cameras, even if he had to pay for them”, though I have my doubts that this would ever happen); Williams has a sideline in pugilism which I am sure is well remunerated; and McCaw shows up in fliers I find in my letterbox every so often advertising very solid and reliable and trustworthy things that I am sure he is meant to embody.  All of these endorsements would (I imagine) be reconsidered if these people were not playing in New Zealand, as their “patriotic” currency would be somewhat diluted by them working and playing abroad long term.

So, and again, here’s hoping that these gushing media reports and rabid fans get real: Rugby Union in New Zealand is a money-making venture, and these players, while no doubt getting a lot of satisfaction in playing for New Zealand and for local clubs, are in no way staying here purely out of the goodness of their hearts.  They are making sure they are getting the best deal that they possibly can, and all power to them – but let’s not paint them in martyrs’ colours, please.

Verdict: Good on the major All Blacks players for resigning to play in New Zealand for the next few years at least.  But it would be disingenuous to pretend that these men get nothing for staying and playing in New Zealand: they are getting some pretty sweet deals, and have negotiated opportunities within their rugby agreements as well with other organisations to earn quite a bit more.  Considering their calibre and class, they deserve their rewards – but New Zealanders should stop trying to fool themselves that rugby is still “grass roots” at heart.  These men are professionals, being paid as such, and should be treated and seen as such too.  7 shots of reality out of 15.


As an aside, why I like Joan: 

"Oprah Winfrey is so powerful that she had the Rapture postponed until after her final show airs." - Joan Rivers.

1 comment:

Kiwi in Zurich said...

'They deserve their rewards.'

tsk tsk