Ta­gataese backs zero tol­er­ance against racism

Sunday Star-Times - - Sport - October 29, 2017

Samoa prop Sam Ta­gataese hopes there will be less ex­am­ples of ca­sual racism in the NRL and on Aus­tralian TV be­cause of the stance taken by his wife, Ana.

In an episode of the Matty Johns Show in Au­gust, the Welling­ton born Ta­gataese and other Pa­cific Is­land play­ers were mocked in a seg­ment for hav­ing names that Aus­tralian chil­dren found dif­fi­cult to pro­nounce.

Ana took to Face­book fol­low­ing the show, call­ing the seg­ment ca­sual racism and it sparked a wave of crit­i­cism to­ward the pro­gram, with fig­ures such as Nigel Va­gana show­ing their sup­port.

To Johns’ credit, he phoned the Ta­gatae­ses to per­son­ally apol­o­gise and did like­wise on air the fol­low­ing week.

But be­cause of Ana’s com­ment it’s un­likely there will ever be a re­peat of some­thing like that on Aus­tralian TV again.

How­ever, the in­ci­dent also high­lighted a kind of ca­sual racism ex­ists in­side the NRL and Pa­cific Is­land play­ers have grown to ac­cept that this is just how it is.

‘‘It put me in my place too, just know­ing that th­ese re­marks, say­ings and ac­tions of the show weren’t right,’’ Ta­gataese said.

‘‘For us play­ers, we’re obliv­i­ous we’re around it all the time.

‘‘So for her to stand up and she said, I was re­ally proud.

‘‘She was ac­tu­ally quite shocked with the mes­sages and how it was re­ceived and we were glad that the Matty Johns Show did come back and apol­o­gise.

‘‘It’s great that they did that and it was a learn­ing curve for tele­vi­sion, es­pe­cially Fox Sports.

‘‘It’s also a learn­ing curve say what for to it, play­ers too, to be mind­ful in what we’re say­ing and if we’re around it to speak up and take a stance.

‘‘Peo­ple have been that it isn’t right.’’

Ta­gataese didn’t play in Satur­day night’s World Cup game against the Ki­wis in Auck­land as he is re­cov­er­ing from a virus, which has ham­pered his train­ing.

How­ever, as one of the most ex­pe­ri­enced play­ers in the Samoan team, he’s sure to play a big part later in their cam­paign and he’s re­ly­ing on hav­ing a good World Cup to help him se­cure an NRL con­tract for next sea­son.

The 30-year-old hasn’t been of­fered a new con­tract by the Sharks af­ter 104 games for the club and is un­cer­tain where he’ll play next year. made aware now

‘‘It’s still up in the air and I’m re­ly­ing on this World Cup to get some in­ter­est,’’ Ta­gataese said.

‘‘There’s def­i­nitely but my­self and Ana, down here.

‘‘I’d like just one more year in the NRL and we’re play­ing a wait­ing game.

‘‘There hasn’t been much move­ment across the board, apart from some big sign­ings ear­lier in the year.

‘‘I hear there are spots at clubs and I guess it’s com­ing down to which types of play­ers fit within their ros­ters.

‘‘It’s hard for me and my fam­ily, be­cause we don’t know what we’re do­ing. So hope­fully I get a cou­ple of games at this World Cup and turn some heads.’’

The War­riors are one of the clubs who’ve shown in­ter­est and they could cer­tainly do with an­other big front rower, hav­ing lost Ja­cob Lil­ly­man, Ben Mat­ulino, Char­lie Gubb and Toafo­foa Si­p­ley.

‘‘I think they’re still in­ter­ested, my man­ager hasn’t said it’s a no from them,’’ Ta­gataese said.

‘‘They maybe wait­ing, I’m not sure. ‘‘There is a bit of hope that some­one comes to the table.’’

It's also a learn­ing curve for play­ers too, to be mind­ful in what we're say­ing and if we're around it to speak up and take a stance. Peo­ple have been made aware now that it isn't right. Sam Ta­gataese

in­ter­est over­seas, we’d like to stay

GETTY IM­AGES

Sam Ta­gataese is proud of his wife Ana’s stand.

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