Rugby to me is a little like cricket or real ale – something I will never fully appreciate despite my best efforts. After 20 years of living in this great country the attractiveness of all of these 3 local pastimes has eluded me. So it surprises me that there are people who take what is supposed to be a game so seriously they cheat with bags of fake blood and getting doctors to cover up by cutting their lips.
It gets even more painful as it becomes clear that it is not simply a player who decided that the easiest way out of the game was to use some fake blood (even football players have been able to avoid this kind of unsporting behaviour to date), but that the management of the club played a major role in the whole thing.
The event gets even more ridiculous as the doctor’s main fault seems to be ‘bringing the profession into disrepute’. This is laughable in today’s world. With MPs structurally cheating on personal expenses, bankers going to extremes to destroy the economy whilst paying themselves stupid amounts of money and lawyers calling every day to see if they can place personal injury claim, nobody cares about the reputation of the profession. Get real!
What is of interest to me is the pressure people like this doctor face and possibly even the player. To be honest, from where I am sitting, both should have stood up and said they would not participate in these shenanigans, but it is easy to say that from this position. How can an organisation like Harlequins develop in this way? There is a serious problem at board level.
In our own organisations we need to ensure we remain open to the people who work for us and that we do not find ourselves in a position that we allow pressures to take us down a road we would not go under normal circumstances. Last week I was in a situation in a company where some senior managers and I did not agree on a particular direction to take. There was no ethical argument in this case, nor was there a particular right or wrong answer. For me it was important to get to the best decision and not to find that by exerting pressure I had forced a course of action. Harlequins forced a course of action but did not get the best decision.
The doctor and the player were clearly wrong in this particular case, but the directors should be called to account for allowing standards to develop within Harlequins which allowed cheating to become part of their game. The Board should be in court and most certainly they needs to be held accountable – possibly personally. I am glad at least one director has resigned. I hope the sport continues to be enjoyed by many and I hope Harlequins can rebuild itself, this time with high standards.