A New Zealand breakfast television host has delivered an ill-informed tirade against Australian cricketer David Warner, who yesterday described the behaviour or the New Zealand crowd throughout the recently tour as "pretty vulgar".
"Some of the stuff was pretty derogatory and pretty vulgar and the upsetting thing was the fact that I know if my two daughters were in the crowd, I wouldn't want them listening to that sort of stuff," Warner said of the constant crowd abuse, which sometimes persisted through the whole day's play.
This statement did not impress Rawdon Christie, host of TVNZ's "breakfast" show. Here's part of what he said:
"What a load of tosh... the point is he's saying it's widespread at every venue. Well Mr Warner, through your own thuggish approach to the game, some fans take exception to you as a person."
The problem here is that Mr Christie is comparing on-field sledging and aggression -- which falls under strict codes of conduct -- and the behaviour of crowds in the stands, which at the latest Test in Christchurch, did not.
David Warner incurred no penalties during this tour for his on-field behaviour. So in other words, cricket authorities thought his behaviour was just fine. Indeed, In the Test just completed, Warner was the first to congratulate departing Kiwi skipper Brendon McCullum after he was dismissed in his final Test innings. This was sportsmanship at its finest.
But what happened in the crowd, clearly, was not savoury. Australian cricket grounds have strict policies about crowd behaviour. Here's what just one ground, the SCG says:
"The SCG Trust has in place a world-class unobtrusive security system and is closely monitored by approximately 200 CCTV cameras viewed by trained full-time security officers. Patrons are urged to report any instance of offensive or unruly behaviour to a Customer Service Officer or Crowd Safety Officer."
Hagley Oval in Christchurch, where this week's Test was played, has no such policy available online.
As for Dave Warner's "thuggish approach to the game", it's difficult to know to what exactly Mr Christie is referring. Perhaps it's the incident in 2013 when Warner allegedly punched England batsman Joe Root in a nightclub, after Warner felt Root had mocked the devout Muslim cricketer Hashim Amla by making fun of his beard.
No one defends Warner's response, if indeed he did respond as alleged, but like reformed bad boy Ricky Ponting before him, the opener's story arc has come a long way in a short time. He is now the father of two and an ambassador for such worth causes as Make-A-Wish Australia.
Anyone wanting to learn more about Warner -- and we'd heartily recommend this to Rawdon Christie -- should read a piece which appeared in The Daily Telegraph a couple of years ago.
In it, Warner details his struggles as a kid in the council flats in a tough part of Sydney. It's inspirational stuff. Those council flats were a tough patch. But it's unlikely, even there, that Warner heard anything is disgusting as he copped from Kiwi crowds over the last few weeks.
Aussie baiting and/or hating is a cheap easy way for a Kiwi breakfast host to score ratings. But in this case, Mr Christie appears to have gotten his facts a little askew.