This is rugby contract season. We have had the Big Press Conferences announcing the NZRU re-signings of Mealamu, Carter and McCaw and the slip-the-release-under-the-door announcement of Muliaina leaving for Japan.
The All Black Jersey, and the lure thereof. This neologism, first used by Steve Tew, has not been around for long, but it is all over NZRU press releases in 2011. Omnipotent even.
Well, whatever happened to the lure of :
a: Playing for the All Blacks
b: Playing for NZ / my country
c: Playing test rugby
You never hear those terms in 2011. It is not that the “Black Jersey” is the biggest lure; it’s the only lure. The whole club v country debate is about cash laden French clubs and … a black jersey
There has to be a clause in the NZRU contract with Adidas behind this. There is no other explanation for its universal use. Such complete adoption of a new term does not happen organically
It is product placement at its most cunning. Adidas has the brand, and has the funding. There is no point in the general public aspiring to playing for their country because only a small minority can dream of that, and there’s no money in it anyway.
But everyone can own a Black Jersey; especially if they are subliminally told that it can ward off wealthy Frenchman.