Notepad on Life

August 10, 2011

Multicultural approach to international sport doesn’t work – only one Martin gets it

Filed under: Sport — - @ 11:14 am
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Martin Johnson

Image via Wikipedia

Martin Samuel’s Daily Mail column on ‘plastic Brits’ in the Olympics athletics squad doesn’t exactly cover new ground (not that the validity of his point is diminished by that) but it does at least introduce a fresh opinion on the topic that suddenly had my undivided attention.

Samuels references an interview with England rugby coach Martin Johnson (right) in The Independent last month and it’s safe to say that had Johnson handled a ball in his playing career as surely as he handles the basic concept of international sport, he’d still be picking the splinters out of his rear end after all that time on the bench.

“If we think they’re the right characters and the right people then they can play…It’s what you do and who you are,” he opines, “not particularly where you’re born.” Those who feel otherwise are apparently guilty of “Little England philosophy”.

I leave it to Martin Samuels to point out the loopholes in this dazzling rhetoric. Let me just say that I’ve always  had my reservations about the way in which Johnson has been presented as a hybrid of Churchill and Chuck Norris ever since he  lifted the World Cup as England captain, and the Independent interview only confirms them.

His brawn is beyond reproach: it’s the other half of the deal where my doubts arise.

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