Dear Mr FlankerThank you Paul - all good points, well made. I guess we do hold sportsmen, and in particular rugby players, to a different standard, largely I think because of two factors:
In the real world outside of sport. Let’s say a person joins a Company as an apprentice carpenter. That individual is then trained, nurtured, promoted, looked after when he is injured on site, welcomed back when they are fit to return to work, sent on courses, offered a supervision role, promoted to management until they are eventually they reach a senior role. This person is then offered a chance of a move to another Company that offers them more money doing the same role. People would not bat an eye lid. They would congratulate them on using their skills and hard work to secure a better future for themselves and their family.
In sport players looking after themselves don’t get treated the same. Careers, in what is becoming an increasingly physical sport are becoming shorter and early retirements are becoming more frequent. They need to make hay whilst the sun shines. Not wait. An injury that could end a career could be just round the corner. Rob Horne for example.
1. the emotional investment that we, as supporters, make in the game - thus we expect the same of our players; and
2. the amateur traditions and values of rugby, loyalty being right up there...