Those blasting Guildford showing moral pomposity

Mike Kilpatrick January 22, 2013, 2:37 pm

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.

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  1. David10:46am Tuesday 29th January 2013 NZDTReport Abuse

    its pretty ironic that the all blacks are sponsored by Steinlager, must not be the one when your addicted to alcohol and being surrounded by advertising all around you in the changing rooms through to the field

  2. David12:54pm Monday 28th January 2013 NZDTReport Abuse

    would you be able to hold your job in the real world would you boss help towards costs etc

  3. Karan03:28am Friday 25th January 2013 NZDTReport Abuse

    You know he is beining drug across the coles. I remember another All Black , when they were knock out of the 2007 world Cup by France, going on a drinking binge , and was found jumping on cars and trying to kick the windscreen in on a few more, And that was all that was said about it. And nobody said anything about him, He now plays in Ireland. Lets leave Zac alone for now .

  4. 02:05am Thursday 24th January 2013 NZDTReport Abuse

    Zac Guildford Is not a current All Black - he missed selection for the Northern Tour - and probably wont be selected to Represent NZ again ... he's just another young man with a drinking problem ... why Is he getting so much attention - there would be 100 such Incidents every weekend - and another 20 far more serious alcohol or drug fuelled assaults, stabbings, home Invasions, agrevated robberies & sexual assaults ... Guildford's minor misdeneanor Is hardly worth a mention ... sheet, I don't even know what he's being accused of.

  5. Andy10:10pm Tuesday 22nd January 2013 NZDTReport Abuse

    Addiction is a real disease as much as heart disease both being caused by a combination of genetic and envirmental factors yet we still treat it as a moral failing. The fact is, as is the case with any chronic condition, that relapses do occur and for addictions are probably the norm. The last thing people with addiction problems need is to feel further isolated, he needs support, compassion and help. It's something that he can't do on his own. Addicts are not down and outers who inhabit the gutter and addictions know no boundaries in terms of social status, profession, or race. I know many captains of industry, doctors, lawyers, teachers and university professors ( I attended my first AA meeting at Cambridge University amongst some pre-eminent scholars ), who were at one time or another addicted to alcohol or drugs, and all of whom are 1 drink or drug away from a potentially fatal relapse. I don't condone his behaviour in the slightest but with proper help and the support of family and friends (and employers) I'm sure he can make a great recovery.

  6. Peter09:51pm Tuesday 22nd January 2013 NZDTReport Abuse

    Sad but be real has been kicked out or banned from a number of hotel ,bars in his home town before he was an All Black , has been thru some tough times media bring it all to the fore but they have also made him 23 mate with all the help he has had , 90% of guys would have pulled there heads in ,reality check your paid very well to do a job do it or find another .WE DO

  7. Makuini08:59pm Tuesday 22nd January 2013 NZDTReport Abuse

    oh its that right nigel so why didnt we hear bout your altercation cos your a nobody thats why the cops r involved im not saying its ok to hit people but sometimes s#$t happens been happening for thousands of years mate why didnt you walk away coz he pissed you of and you hit him Dreamer

  8. tom08:32pm Tuesday 22nd January 2013 NZDTReport Abuse

    And the hypocrites in Parliament say it's "OK" for 18 year olds-20 year olds to binge drink/fight on streets whilst rotten drunk/kill people on the roads whilst under the influence etc etc.Too gutless to do anything about it.Why?Because they want their drunken vote!!

  9. Rebekah08:25pm Tuesday 22nd January 2013 NZDTReport Abuse

    bill your full of s#^t this thing happens all the time its only because was able earn a black jersery that it makes the news some just trying make money of it i bet

  10. Lotus08:20pm Tuesday 22nd January 2013 NZDTReport Abuse

    I agree with Lindsay. Very well written and excellent comments!




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