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A wasted opportunity to do some good

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 7 Apr 2015 at 09:23
Tagged with : , , , ,

The jokes abounded after the Sharks – who had taken the field in special jerseys to commemorate their support for organ donation – took a record hammering from the Crusaders on Saturday.

“Looks like they’ve already donated their brains”, quipped one. “A distinct lack of heart,” was the other ironic chirp, although guts and spine were just as evidently missing from the Sharks’ display. One comedic genius hit the nail squarely on the head at full time, saying he’d hate to be in the shoes of whomever was responsible for auctioning the special jerseys off after the game.

Who in their right sodding minds would want to buy one of those jerseys after the Sharks so defiled them? Perhaps a Crusaders player, keen to have one for his trophy room? I guess the only slight consolation for us fans is that the team chose to show such disrespect to a jersey that (at least) wasn’t the traditional black and white one.

There’s a nugget of valuable truth in this sorry tale, though. When you’re a professional rugby team, paid handsomely to play rugby for a living, then the rugby has to come first. That might sound like an awful thing to say – heartless even – but those who know me will hopefully realise that I am massively in favour of charitable works and am not for a second suggesting that the Sharks should do less of it. I am hugely proud of the good works that the Sharks brand puts their name behind and even got into a debate on this very topic with a fan on Twitter a few weeks ago, who suggested that the sideshows should stop.

Saturday’s debacle has made me change my mind. I’m not saying that the Organ Donor drive was in any way to blame for the poor performance, but I fear the Forever Fans legacy campaign will be forever tainted by the memory of this shocking result. The Sharks as a team and as a brand now need to put all their energy into re-establishing credibility as a rugby team, rather than devoting hours during the week to photo shoots, ad campaigns and goodness knows what else. These players, as valuable marketing commodity, lose value every time they are seen taking a beating (and worse, being guilty of foul play) and it’s long past time that they start to show their real value again – on the field of play.

Less marketing, Sharks. Less sideshows. Less clever media stunts and glamour photo calls. More blood. More sweat. More rugby. That’s the first step to regaining our respect.


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