There is a place for ambassadors in this world, and a place for insensitivity. But they do not fit well together.
Former All Black Andy Haden, designated an "ambassador" for the Rugby World Cup, has aired a view of Polynesian rugby players that really forces the Government's minister for the event, Murray McCully, to revoke his warrant.
Haden believes the Canterbury Crusaders Super 14 franchise deliberately restricts the number of Polynesians it will include in its squad.
Present and former administrators, the coach and players firmly deny it. Haden had claimed the restriction was written in stone in a Crusaders manual somewhere.
He backed off that bit of his testimony yesterday but insists the rule is real and says he has heard from those who would know.
Any such rule would be ridiculous. This country's rugby has been blessed by Polynesian players of such quality that no side in its right mind would exclude them.
If the Crusaders have been notably "whiter" than other teams, it is probably because they have been notably better at developing local players, and South Island localities have lower Polynesian populations than those in the North.
The puzzling element in Haden's suggestion is the thought that a limit on a team's Polynesian composition could explain its success. How exactly? Even he might be diplomatic enough not to elaborate.
But the implication is offensive to Polynesians and to rugby in this country.
No game has done more to bring together all communities in New Zealand.
All Black teams happen usually to contain a fairly even balance of Maori, Pacific and Pakeha players, a blend that is all the better because it is scarcely ever noticed.
The Rugby World Cup intends to feature a strong Polynesian flavour in its emblems and presentation. Ambassador Haden is already offside.