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Time for zero tolerance on foul play

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 7 Apr 2015 at 12:18
Tagged with : , , , ,

“Consider a building with a few broken windows. If the windows are not repaired, the tendency is for vandals to break a few more windows. Eventually, they may even break into the building, and if it’s unoccupied, perhaps become squatters or light fires inside. Or consider a pavement. Some litter accumulates. Soon, more litter accumulates. Eventually, people even start leaving bags of refuse from take-out restaurants there or even break into cars.

Taken from Wikipedia, these words by James Wilson and George Kelling provide the rationale behind the “broken windows theory” of criminology, one used successfully in a number of places over the years to arrest the slide of lawlessness in place as diverse as New York City, Albuquerque New Mexico (where “Breaking Bad” was set) and Amsterdam in the Netherlands. The theory is a simple one – start with the small things and implement a zero tolerance policy. As the commission of any crime, no matter how small, is punished, gradually the perception of the community at large changes and more serious crimes tend to reduce all on their own.

While the Sharks are no doubt wrestling with all manner of uncertainty and plenty of uncontrollables at this stage, the one aspect of their own game – completely controllable – that continues to let them down is on-field indiscipline and foul play. Gary Gold may consider the three red cards dished out already this season “isolated incidents”, but the reality is that isolated or not, these incidents occur far too frequently and are having a major effect on the team, but are also losing fans for the brand. Gold and his management team need to stamp this out and come down hard on offenders.

It is time to put an end to this once and for all. It is time for a strong statement and time for action, rather than words and after-the-fact apologies. I want an end to the moaning about why we always seem to get harsher sentences than other teams do and rather want the Sharks themselves to lay down a marker and set the tone.

Starting from now, I want to the Sharks to impose an immediate 3-month internal ban on ANY player committing an act of foul play within a match. Players guilty of lesser offences (I’m thinking yellow cards for acts contrary to good sportsmanship) should face a lesser ban but should still be punished internally even if the ruling body takes no further action.

Let’s make our stance against foul play and bad sportsmanship more than just words.


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