Manu Tuilagi's five week ban: baffling and infuriating equal measure
Manu Tuilagi has been given a ban of five weeks for stoving Chris Ashton's napper in and the decision lacks logic on so many levels it could have been written on the lyrics sheet of Frank Zappa's more challenging albums.
Looking at it point by point your brain starts to spin due to the u-turns of logic the panel make.
- The punchings were seen as a "top level entry offence" by the Rugby Football Union's disciplinary panel, which makes sense.
- Disciplinary officer Jeff Blackett then says, "However we also determined that there was some provocation from Chris Ashton who pushed and struck him in the back with his knee." So, according to them, being pushed in the back somehow justifies a top entry level offence. Also, why is there no mention that the only reason Ashton shoved him is because Tuilagi nearly took his head off, late and off the ball, with a swinging-arm tackle?
- "The top-end range is eight to 52 weeks and we determined that the appropriate entry point within that range is 10 weeks." Back to making sense.
- "This was reduced by 50% to reflect Manu's youth and inexperience, his admission of guilt and his genuine remorse." He's 20, not 12 so youth is no mitigation. On the 'Admission of guilt'; he was recorded on TV from two angles punching the shite out of someone, how exactly could he plead not-guilty? Then we have 'Genuine remorse'; where he's basically being rewarded for not saying "I'm glad I smacked the bastard and I'd happily do it again"
To finish it all off there is this purler: "This sort of incident is very damaging to the image of the game." Agreed, but it's not as damaging to the wider sport as a group of supposedly learned people demonstrating that outright thuggery can somehow be explained away via spurious, mealy-mouthed, nonsensical and apologist drivel. Something that is happening far too often.Tweet
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