SPORTS LETTER : Ageism and arrogance

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From Mr L Edwards

Sir: Apropos Steve Bale's article, Mutual mistrust that only money may cure (9 May), the apology tendered by Will Carling to every member of the committee tells us more about the weaknesses in Carling's leadership qualities then it does about the alleged "old farts" he so publicly and unfairly maligned. It is not the word "fart" to which I object, but rather the word "old" since it signals an obvious contempt held by Carling to do with anything aged.

In a word, Carling is guilty of ageism and, as one of some 12 million senior citizens in this country, I personally feel outraged that his glib comments reflect the disrespect in which he holds advancing years. One indeed wonders what Carling's reaction would be were his parents addressed publicly as a couple of "old farts".

While the England squad has displayed admirable loyalty to Carling, it seems quite apparent that he displays none to the RFU committee, and his sacking - though subsequently reversed - was right and proper. It matters not exactly who was involved in reaching that decision to dismiss Carling, the fact is that it was a dismissable offence from which no icon of the sporting world should be insulated. Success should not be allowed to breed a degree of arrogance to the point where the tail begins to wag the dog.



Surbiton, Surrey