Rugby Bits & Bites – Mass Arrests, Springboks and A "Lady" Shame

• I got this by e-mail from a guy we call Wayne Train. Via PlanetRugby …

Mass arrests as Police Mistake Rugby for Brawl
Monday June 12 2006
Players fall foul of ‘counter-terrorism action’
More than 100 people were detained in the southern Russian city of Rostov-On-Don after police mistook an innocent game of rugby for a mass brawl.

The Russian news agency RIA said police had received a tip-off about a mass fracas at an empty sports ground on the city’s outskirts on Sunday afternoon.

More than 70 officers arrived to find dozens of cars parked around a grassy field and around 60 people watching what appeared to be a fight between two criminal gang.

The police broke up proceedings and detained some 100 people before determining that they were engaged in a bizarre sport instead of brawling.

All the detainees were released several hours later, but not before being scolded for not alerting authorities ahead of time.

The southern Russian region is adjacent to the troubled North Caucasus, where violence from Chechnya regularly spills into nearby areas.

“Given the difficult, troubled situation in the region, at a time when counter-terrorism actions are being actively conducted, citizens are obligated to inform [authorities] either verbally or in writing of their intentions,” said a police spokesman.

The players were quoted as saying such amateur matches were common and were often held in the neighbouring Volgograd and Stavropol regions of southern Russia.

“The fact that police took us to be hooligans, this isn’t the first time,” said one of the organisers, Alexander, who declined to give his last name for fear of offending the police.

“Honestly, it’s the first time that we’ve ever heard that we’re supposed to make public our plans to the local police.”

That must’ve been one heck of a game.

Jen S. – I had to post that story ASAP to add to the collection of weird and wacky rugby stories … Onions, Census, Self-Tanning Mishaps and so on. This may require a new sidebar link collection someday …

• In other Women’s World Cup rugby news, South Africa named its roster to play the Netherlands in the Springboks first warmup pre-cup match.

• This column, “At Least One US Team Knows How to Win“, is more proof that the writing at ARN is sorely lacking …

[Update Note: I have amended this section of the post. I no longer wish to include references to the reporter on my blog. That said, I stand by my opinions of the article.]

1. Despite rarely including any women’s rugby news (1-2 stories per month if that) and then posting a story on the dancers at USA 7s under the women’s rugby headlines, the writer suddenly realizes this week that we have a winning Eagles team.

3. He then says its okay to call the Women’s National Team the “Lady Eagles” … this is what really irks me. Why not just the Eagles? Can we call the men’s team, the “Gentleman Eagles” or “Eagle Dudes”? Why does the women’s team get the extra qualifier? An extra qualifier that adds demeaning undertones of inferiority?

And seriously, did this guy attend the Neanderthal School of Sports Journalism, because the last time I checked, it’s a big no-no to refer to any women’s team – unless the team specifically refers to themselves in this manner like Tennessee’s Lady Vols – as the “Lady (Insert your Mascot here)”.

[Update Note: I checked the Associated Press Style Guide, the bible of all American journalists, and it says the following: “Lady: Do not use as a synonym for woman. Lady may be used when it is a courtesy title or when a specific reference to fine manners is appropriate without patronizing overtones.” Further, online style guides for the University of California-Davis (pg. 18, and the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse athletic department (“Eagles”, note this, in addition to an article here at the Women’s Sports Foundation site discussing the need for parallel language in sports writing to help fight discrimination (]

And for a column that seemingly was written to hail the success of the Women’s Senior National Team, only two of seven paragraphs (not including the lackluster opening) is about the women’s team. In fact, the coverage of the women’s team success is used only as a tool to shed more light on the U-19 and senior men’s teams’ lack of success lately.

Other than a quick look every once in a while, I’ve stopped even bothering to visit American Rugby News. And today’s column just makes me more happy I haven’t.




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2 responses to “Rugby Bits & Bites – Mass Arrests, Springboks and A "Lady" Shame

  1. Anonymous


    I had the same reaction reading the “Lowe Down.” Was he trying to praise the USWNT at all? Calling them the Lady Eagles was strange. Plus, I did not like his oddly rascist comment about the Mexican men’s 7’s team:

    “…Its one and only moment in the sun came against Mexico, a team whose players one presumes were actually from Mexico as opposed to the other kind who slink across the border in the dead of night and then scatter like cockroaches.”

    What the heck was the reasoning behind that comment?

    Ever since the USA 7’s and you blogged that Lowe never writes about women’s rugby, I have kept an eye on his articles. I have to say that you are absolutely right. His act is tired


  2. Blondie

    Dan –

    I was so bugged by the other stuff, I only skimmed the paragraphs on the men’s team and didn’t see that about Mexico.

    So basically, he’s saying he is presuming that the Mexican national team players are not immigrants trying to cross the border into our country (talk about bad timing with the current news!) and that anyone who does cross the border (assuming he means illegally) are akin to cockroaches?

    He’s a condescending tool and now, it seems, a bigot. Nice Job Lowe Down. Keep up the Good Work!

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