People say sports and politics do not mix, and perhaps they are right. The primary purpose of sport is for leisure and entertainment, participation and enjoyment. As one who watches a number of different sports on television and goes to the occasional rugby or cricket match, I try to draw a line between necessary interaction between the two and unnecessary interaction.
However, when a high profile sports commentator is guilty of an act of domestic violence against his partner, as Tony Veitch pleaded , it becomes a significant item of public interest or in this case concern for the well being of the abused spouse. His partner, Kristin Dunne-Powell suffered broken discs in her back and other injuries in a single incident where Mr Veitch kicked her down the stairs of their house. It was just one of many assaults that apparently took place, but it was the most violent. Months after the violence stopped, Ms Dunne-Powell was unable to work. Discs in her back have atrophied and caused disfigurement. She received counselling for post traumatic stress disorder.
Mr Veitch chose in the weekend just gone to bring his past back to the surface with a post on his Facebook sports commentary page. In doing so, he appears to have made light of very serious offences that have caused ongoing trauma for the victim. He boasted about his Facebook support. In doing so he appears to have shown little understanding of his past offences and elected to attack his critics, fuelling a backlash. Whilst some of the criticism he has copped has been below the belt, much of it has been justified.
Domestic violence is something we as a nation claim to despise and rightfully so. However in many circles accepting ones responsibility for stopping domestic violence from happening seems to be easier said than actually done. With movies like Once Were Warriors, which explores a dysfunctional Maori family and the slow realization dawning on the mother that she must get herself and her children to a safer environment, which she does, but not before a dreadful price gets paid. It stirred controversy at the time, and it is no doubt a hard hitting movie, but it tells some uncomfortable truths, that 21 years later, we are still loathe to acknowledge.
Unfortunately many people seem to have supported Mr Veitch in likewise not acknowledging his past and his lack of effort to make amends for it. He boasted of the 152,000 people who like his Facebook page and presumably watch his show. Below is an example written by Alice Brine of what he COULD have written instead of bringing up his past in such a negative way:
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