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I've been left somewhat bemused by the reaction to Zac Guildford's latest alcohol-fueled incident, especially in comparison to the way Jesse Ryder has been treated.
Guildford may well have blown his last chance and be consigned to the ranks of former All Blacks, but the apparent bloodlust surrounding him is amazing considering Ryder is held up as some sort of messiah.
I still remember the day at Eden Park when Ryder was cheered by thousands when forced to act as waterboy after being dropped for missing a team meeting because he was drunk.
Meanwhile Guildford has been hung out to dry by many, apparently happy that a young man's isolation from his profession is somehow the only appropriate response.
Guildford, of course, bears responsibility for how he behaves - and particularly for the decisions he makes to put himself in situations where alcohol is present.
But let's take a step back for a minute and consider the environment in which the talented winger has been brought up in.
He's living in a society in which I still hear laments for the days gone by when you could have a few down the pub and still drive home.
He's living in a society in which drink-driving is prevalent, highly visible and yet attracts little in the way of punishment despite the potential for devastating outcomes.
He's living in a society which links alcohol and high-performance sports due to massive sponsorship deals - and, in fact, which is drunk widely in changing rooms after games.
He's living in a society in which many, many more 23-year-olds have the same addiction to alcohol as he does but escape the scrutiny of an All Black.
And finally, he's living in a society which not only tolerates alcohol, but constantly refuses to deal with the systemic and devastating affects alcohol has on society.
Yes, Guildford needs to address his alcoholism and ensure that he avoids, as much as possible, being where alcohol is drunk to avoid temptation.
But it does not come solely down to him to deal with. Guildford paid for himself to go through treatment and counselling last time.
Given how much money the NZRU have made from alcohol sponsorship deals, couldn't they stump up some cash for a young man who is addicted and needs help much more than he needs scorn?
And given how prevalent beer is in the changing room after All Blacks tests, wouldn't it be good for our most lauded sportsmen to signal that alcohol isn't the only way to celebrate?
It's sadly ironic that it's likely the place where Guildford was exposed to alcohol more than anywhere else during the last year was in rugby changing rooms.
Of course we can't alawys excuse Guildford, and others like him, who continually struggle with their demons and do it in ways which involve violence or disturbing others.
But until we grow up as a society and address the strong influence alcohol has on our society we're not speaking from a position of moral superiority.
I've seen addiction and what it can do to people. Hanging them out to dry should be the very final step.At 23 Guildford has many more steps to take. We should be supporting him, not condemning.
7-5 4-6 6-3
6-4 2-6 6-4
7-5 3-6 5-7
3-6 6-3 0-6
6-4 4-6 6-0
3-6 7(7)-6 6-1
6-1 3-6 1-6
7-5 6-7(7) 6-3
Namibia v Zambia
Hibernian v Celtic
Thrush named for All Blacks training camp http://t.co/FrId8qsJjd
Tiger and Sergio I respect both of you and your golf so much plz end this y'all are so good for golf #justgetalongmyfriends
The Players ended nearly two weeks ago and it’s long past time to move on and talk about golf.
And that's lunch. What a huge final couple of overs. England 67/3 with Root and Bell both at the crease on 0*. Great first session. ^CE
Tough to wake up on the day of the draw for a slam and not be in it! Was hoping it was a bad dream... #reality
@KenBobPryde hmmm, reminds me a bit of another echo chamber.