Kerre McIvor: Forget GCSB, public are the spies

Aaron Smith's indiscretion is yet another fire for the NZRU to damp down. Photo / Nigel Yalden
Aaron Smith's indiscretion is yet another fire for the NZRU to damp down. Photo / Nigel Yalden

Another week, another rugby player reinforcing the stereotype that meatheads play footy.

We've had the Chiefs' stripper debacle and the outrage over Losi Filipo being given a discharge without conviction on serious assault charges on the basis that a conviction would harm his burgeoning rugby career.

And now All Black Aaron Smith is in the headlines for all the wrong reasons after he was outed for entertaining a lady friend who was not his partner in a disability toilet at Christchurch Airport.

The whole world knows this because a couple and their young son were waiting to use the bathroom, which doubles as a family room.

They saw a young woman enter the loo, closely followed by Smith.

Smith was part of the All Black party, dressed in the official travelling uniform, and readily identifiable.

According to the couple, rhythmic tapping noises could be heard from the bathroom, shortly after Smith joined the young woman.

It was then the husband decided to record the sounds. Apparently, according to friends of mine under 30, everybody records everything these days.

And I guess the man decided an All Black with a girl in the toilets was interesting enough to record.

I find the idea of sex in a toilet unappealing, but the idea of somebody being so prurient as to record the sounds of people at it is even more unpalatable.

Anyway, after about 10 minutes, the rhythmic tapping noises stopped, Smith and his friend emerged, separately, from the loo and Smith rejoined his All Blacks teammates.

Smith has now been sent home from South Africa, where the All Blacks played early this morning, after the couple gave the recording and an account of what they saw to the media.

The husband thought it was "kinda funny" but his wife, apparently, became more and more incensed by what she'd witnessed - more specifically, heard - and decided to hold Smith to account.

She says most people wouldn't behave in that fashion, let alone the All Blacks, who are role models for young children.

The fact they're on the Weet-Bix boxes seemed to have been the tipping point for her and she persuaded her husband to rat out Smith. Which reinforces my opinion that it's not the Government and the GCSB we have to worry about spying on us.

Its our fellow citizens and their smartphones. Nobody is safe, as Smith discovered.

I can only imagine the incredulity from the All Blacks team management when they heard of the incident: "He's done what?!" "He did it where?!" "They recorded it?!"

And so yet another fire for the PR team to try dampen down.

I've heard a number of people saying this is yet another example of rugby's bad attitude towards women.

In this case, I think they're wrong. This was one man making a really, really poor decision.

Smith was on the clock for the All Blacks, an employee in a highly visible company uniform.

Imagine if it had been an airline pilot in uniform. Or a police officer. This behaviour would bring on disciplinary action from their employers as well.

How Smith thought he could get away with a liaison in a public toilet, at an airport - while people were queued outside the door, for heaven's sake - is beyond me. That level of idiocy is mind-boggling.

But the woman in the loo wasn't coerced. She was a willing participant.

This is nothing to do with rugby other than Smith being an employee of the rugby union.

Now Smith is home he'll be facing a disciplinary meeting with the NZRU - who will no doubt forgive the best halfback in the world - and presumably a similar meeting with his partner, who may well be less forgiving.

But this whole sordid affair is not about rugby and its attitude to women. It's about an idiot making an error of judgment that has affected his family and his team. It's hard to believe that 10 minutes of rhythmic tapping was worth it.

Kerre McIvor is on NewstalkZB Monday-Friday, noon-4pm.

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf03 at 04 Dec 2016 08:27:39 Processing Time: 531ms