Pitch pitstops: Decency rules

By Hannah Norton

1 comment

When it comes to Northland sportspeople urinating on the sports field, local policy seems to be just not to get caught.

The issue came to light when Warriors player Russell Packer stood with hands on hips, and wet his pants, at the start of an NRL match against the Brisbane Broncos last week.

The act sparked a media frenzy and references to when Jerry Collins squatted down and urinated during a Bledisloe Cup test against the Wallabies in Christchurch in 2006.

The NRL has since issued the Warriors with a A$15,000 ($18,092) fine, with five days to reply to the breach notice.

Northland Rugby Union chief executive Jeremy Parkinson said that while they didn't have a policy regarding urinating during games, it might be about time to start looking at one.

"It's the first time I've heard of someone just fire-trucking in the middle of a game," he said.

"I coach an under-sevens team who all need to go right before the game, and I just send them to the nearest fence - but there's no cameras there.

I suppose the key is not to get caught." Of the $15,000 fine, he thought: "It's a bit rough, just for a bodily function."

Whangarei police spokeswoman Sarah Kennett told the Advocate such behaviour could fall under the scope of two criminal offences - urinating in public and offensive behaviour.

Sport Northland chief executive Brent Eastwood said it was up to each sports code to determine their urination policy.

Rugby League Northland general manager Alex Smits said he felt the media circus surrounding Packer's urination was "white noise", which shouldn't take away from the incredible game the Warriors played.

In saying that, he does expect local players to respect the fact their playing fields are a family environment.

"It's the same as defecating in a public place. We expect our players to respect public decency."

But he acknowledged there were areas [Northland sportsfields] where there were no toilet facilities. "I expect them to use discretion and common sense. We are not on TV but we are in a family environment."

English marathon runner Paula Radcliffe also famously squatted and urinated during the 2007 London Marathon, then ran to set a record for the women-only race. She apologised for her pitstop, saying: "I didn't want to resort to that, but I was losing time because I needed to go - so I just stopped."

Some of the Advocate's Facebook followers said such behaviour was shameful.

Dane Hawker said, "What about the poor guys who tackle him around the legs and get their head around his shorts. Steep fine. But when ya gota go."

Catherine Tia Toa said it was "seriously disgusting".

"I feel bad for anyone that went near his legs ... no shame to pee his pants!!" she said.

TeeJ Dunbar said, "It was better than having you're bladder burst open inside yourself in a tackle, maybe they should fine the NRL for not suppling toilet facilities on the pitch."

- Northern Advocate

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