All Blacks rugby team apologise after International Women’s Day message sparks criticism

‘Patronising. Female stereotyping to the max,’ says Florence Williams

Maya Oppenheim
Women’s Correspondent
Friday 11 March 2022 16:49
Comments
<p>The All Blacks also faced criticism for not hailing achievements of the Black Ferns in spite of the world champions having won five of the last six Women’s World Cups</p>

The All Blacks also faced criticism for not hailing achievements of the Black Ferns in spite of the world champions having won five of the last six Women’s World Cups

The All Blacks have been forced to apologise for a statement on International Women’s Day thanking the team member's wives for “allowing” them to play rugby.

The tweet posted by New Zealand’s mens national rugby team, on the day which marks women’s achievements, also included a photo of a player who assaulted his partner.

Critics condemned the All Blacks for reducing women to supporting roles which revolve around facilitating their husband or partner’s success rather than celebrating the women as individuals in their own right.

The All Blacks also faced criticism for not hailing the achievements of the country’s female rugby team, the Black Ferns, in spite of the world champions having won five of the last six Women’s World Cups.

Florence Williams, a Wales and Wasps rugby player, tweeted: “How not to celebrate IWD from a male sport ally. Patronising. Female stereotyping to the max ‘allow us to play’.

“It's not enough to acknowledge women, but understand the barriers and oppression, not aggravate it.”

While Shirley McCay, Ireland’s hockey player, posted: “Allow you to play the game you love… Goodness me. There's so much wrong with this it's almost as if it's a parody account.”

The initial statement, which was later deleted from the team’s Twitter page, said: “Forever grateful to all the women in our lives that allow us to play the game we love. Partners, mothers, daughters, doctors, physios, referees, administrators and fans. Appreciate you every day”.

The partners, daughters and female relatives featured in images that were shared alongside the original tribute.

Sevu Reece, an All Blacks player who pleaded guilty to assaulting his female partner back in 2018, was in a photo included in the initial tribute.

In their apology, New Zealand Rugby (NZR) said: “We didn't get it right and we apologise. NZR and our Teams in Black celebrated International Women's Day across all of our digital channels and our intent was to portray the many roles women have in our game.”

While the All Blacks apology said: “We’ve stopped, listened and we agree. We didn’t get it right with our celebration of International Women’s Day and we apologise.”

Hitting out at the All Blacks initial International Women’s Day message, Katherine Merchant, England rugby star, tweeted: “Why is International Women’s Day needed?

“This right here. Black Ferns are current world champions yet this post chose to ignore their existence and instead thank the women who ‘allow’ men to play.”

The player added in a follow-up message: “It's also a huge oversight not to celebrate the Black Ferns from their social media account with 1 million followers.”

While Sarah Taylor, an English cricketer and coach, quipped: “Awks. Didn’t fancy supporting ya women’s team”.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in