Last night, I was on the sports desk when the news came through that Bakkies Botha had been cleared of dangerous play against the Stormers in the Super Rugby match played at the weekend. On any shift, we have the output, that would be me, a writer and the anchor. We sometimes have more, but that is what we had last night. As a group we were shocked that Bakkies was cleared. It was the first time I had seen the incident in question when we ran the story. We showed a slow motion of the “tackle” for which Bakkies had just been cleared.
Trying to describe it here would not do the assault justice. Suffice to say, Bakkies grabbed his opponent around the neck and almost ripped his head off. Failing that, Bakkies fell on top of his opponent, nearly bending him in half with a chance of a broken spine of some sort. The SANZAR officer felt that it was not a dangerous tackle and Bakkies is a free man to assault another rugby player again next week.
Bakkies has a reputation for being a dirty player. He has been quoted as saying that the aggression on the field gives him goosebumps. Sadly, it’s not just a Bakkies thing. I have been in a pub as the Stormers were playing a Super Rugby match and a fight broke out on the field. The men in the pub cheered louder than any other play on the field. South Africans seem to get off on the pain of other rugby players on the field.
As a schoolboy it was much the same. Blood was everywhere and bots were flying. It wasn’t so much the A and B teams but the lower ranks where the dirty play would be found. This is the same for a player like Bakkies. Last night I wasn’t allowed to say it on the TV but today I can say it here:
BAKKIES BOTHA IS A THUG AND SHOULD BE BANNED FOR LIFE!
The man is not a rugby player, he is simply a thug who tries his best to hurt other players on the field. The best rugby players in the World don’t need to do that, they seem to have skill and fitness. Daniel Carter, Naas Botha, John Smit, Johnny Wilkinson come to mind. None of them have been banned from the game for weeks because of an assault on another player.
It’s time that South African rugby pulled themselves towards themselves and fixed our already tarnished reputation.