Breaking the code of omerta
September 6, 2013
"What goes on tour stays on tour." A phrase that goes back decades and, being honoured by countless men and women who have been on sporting tours, has spared many blushes and more than a few relationships. The phrase demands such a code of conduct after the tour that statistics on its effectiveness can not be gathered for, in essence, it protects those who may have dabbled in the shadows of sub-culture away from home.
Equally, it spares those who stayed at home from hearing scurrilous and embellished tales of on-tour horseplay which, if you weren't there, are almost universally dull and irrelevant.
Social media's omni-present spying devices have clipped millions of wings; for every England rugby player snapped tossing a dwarf there are a thousand club players living in fear of a team mate circulating photos of high jinx in a Mediterranean bar. The age of innocence is long lost.
A modern Lions tour is so forensically covered by media and public that little new information can be revealed after the event. Everything has been tweeted by the players, scribbled by the hacks and broadcast by vultures before the blood has been wiped away or the plates cleared from the table.
Which leaves us with the likes of Brian O Driscoll and Jamie Heaslip moaning like petulant schoolboys that they weren't picked for the one match in which the Lions actually played to their potential. Sour grapes? You bet. Interesting? Not at all. Dignified? Absolutely not.
In their defence, O'Driscoll and Heaslip have probably done no more than answer provocative questions, yet it makes them come across as bitter and self-centred. What happened to all the unity of the Lions, the unbreakable bonds forged on tour? It's easy to believe that those not playing in the Sydney Test would rather have been anywhere but in the stadium when the ham-fisted showings of the first and second Tests were exposed.
O'Driscoll and Heaslip describe themselves as "resentful" and "p****d off" respectively. Better off keeping schtum, then.
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