There are no long term,Broadcasting Standards type. documented rules formed from years of practice; the plane is being refined midflight.
However, there is common sense. And respect.
And that reading the room thing.
A really good example of that popped up this week when the All Blacks Twitter account sent this out to its global, and well promoted Big Brand of followers.
It’s International Women’s Day so let’s do this?
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 ❤️#IWD2022 #internationalwomensday pic.twitter.com/EnC8fXWQtF
— All Blacks (@AllBlacks) March 7, 2022
What followed was an avalanche of criticism; some of it justified, some of it not so much.
First of all, what was so bad about the misreading of the room was the inclusion of photos of Aaron Smith and, in particular Sevu Reece. The idea of showing a photo of a guy who pleaded guilty to a charge of domestic violence abuse in that context is pretty mind blowing. A room spectacularly unread.
But the criticism of that tweet coming from the All Blacks account was a bit revealing. The All Blacks are a high profile men’s rugby team. They are the icing on the cake and the shop window of rugby union in this country, but they are a team. They were not about promoting the Black Ferns; there were other avenues for that.
It would appear that a lot of people don’t follow the Black Ferns account or, more importantly, the NZ Rugby account, which is more about the promotion of the sport in this country; not just the tip of the iceberg.
Both those accounts posted tweets respecting the day with relevance but, for some strange reason those tweets didn’t attract the same level of comment. Because people in this country equate the game of rugby union with the All Blacks.
In reality that is really not how it operates.
What this highlights is the blurring of rugby in this country, NZR, and the All Blacks. The distinction has become over consolidated over the last 20 years, and this is a really good example a negative unintended consequence.
The global marketing brand of the All Blacks brand may be significant, if probably overstated, but New Zealanders have become suspicious of its throttling of the level beneath it.
This is a wakeup call that hopefully will sink in.
Footnote; watch for the NZ Rugby account to lift its game over the next year or so about reconnecting with grass root rugby and battlers in Aotearoa. Because we want that so much more than a Seve Reece brushover.