Karl du Fresne on the Aaron Smith saga

Another sensible bit of commentary from Karl du Fresne.

The tut-tutters who clucked their tongues over All Black Aaron Smith’s tryst in an airport toilet must have been startled by the number of voices raised in his defence.

The Mother Grundys were almost outgunned by Smith’s defenders, who recognised that this affair was different in vital respects from other recent furores involving delinquent rugby players.

Public outrage should be reserved for incidents that justify it, such as the vicious assaults perpetrated by the rising rugby star Losi Filipo.

Smith’s airport encounter involved no violence or coercion. As far as we know, the woman was a willing partner.

The incident also differed crucially from the Waikato Chiefs’ end-of-season revelry involving a stripper. Although the stripper appears to have been a consenting party, at least initially, she was a lone woman surrounded by men – big, intimidating men. It was hardly what you would call a level playing field.

So: Smith’s liaison involved no nastiness. And it was one-on-one – a case of two adults indulging in consensual behaviour behind a closed door. A victimless crime, in other words.

Yep, and still people tut-tutted.

There was no public display and the only people entitled to feel offended were the disabled people queuing to use the dunny – except there weren’t any.

What made it unusual was the unconventional venue and the fact that one of the participants was an All Black wearing his touring uniform. This latter aspect might have made it an issue for New Zealand Rugby, but I fail to see how it was the business of anyone else, other than Smith’s unfortunate partner.

If anyone’s behaviour was questionable it was the tell-tale sneaks who, for goodness knows what reason, decided to dob Smith in.

That triggered what has now become a wearisomely familiar ritual in which New Zealand Rugby hit the apology button. Cue “role model” blah blah …. “made a bad decision” blah blah … “let himself down” blah blah.

Give us a break. Is there anyone apart from NZR and its risk-averse spin doctors who take these grovel-fests seriously?

Badly behaved sportsmen are an issue, certainly. The irony is that despite the hullabaloo over his supposed indiscretion, people like Smith are not the problem. He engaged with a female partner on equal terms. For that, you could almost call him a role model.

I want to know who the prurient idiots were who thought to record it and shop it to the media. So far the complicit Media party have protected these peeping toms. It is them who should be ashamed.

All Aaron Smith did was shag a chick in the bogs…like that has never happened before.


– Karl du Fresne

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story.  And when he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet.   Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet, and as a result he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist that takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him.  But you can’t ignore him.