Tagataese backs zero tolerance against racism
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
Sam Tagataese is proud of his wife Ana’s stand.