Malcolm Boyle: Tyson not man for this

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Willie Jackson. Photo / Supplied
Willie Jackson. Photo / Supplied

During the 1990s when former Kiwi Rugby League coach Graham Lowe and I owned a slice of the Warriors, our partners in the venture, the Tainui Maori tribe, pulled the pin on our involvement and took over the management of the club itself.

This prompted Lowe - never one to call a spade a shovel - to observe publicly that "the Warriors are now being run by a bunch of Maoris from the Waikato".

The pronouncement was greeted with a mixture of mirth from Lowe's not inconsiderable rugby league fan base and consternation from some who thought such comment was out of line.

Broadcaster Willie Jackson (now chief executive of the Manukau Urban Maori Authority) found the words so offensive he complained to the then Race Relations Conciliator who summoned Lowe to his office. Lowe was late for the appointment, but explained he had difficulty finding the office as there appeared to be an absence of signs in English.

Now Willie is advocating that former world heavyweight champion, Mike Tyson, be allowed to communicate his trash talk and vitriol in New Zealand.

Jackson says Tyson would "reflect on his experiences, motivate youth to stay out of trouble and find positive ways of using their talents". He dismisses the opposition of Metiria Turei "and her ilk" as "narrowly based on his [Tyson's] imprisonment, rape and subsequent misfortunes".

Jackson, ever the media opportunist, has stated they invited a reformed man, his wife, mother-in-law and their children to engage with their community on the marae. Sounds positive. But if anyone had heard the intro to a radio show featuring Tyson, thecy would be aghast at the on-air behaviour of this "reformed man".

The words Tyson used to describe his ex-wife and the victim of his rape were disgusting, cynical and frightening. He implored his audience to refer to women in the most derogatory terms. Hardly the language of a "reformed man".

Jackson gives a compelling explanation on how Tyson refused to confess to the rape, saying he would rather go to jail forever than admit to something he didn't do. He must know that a quick visit to Mt Eden prison would reveal that the majority of those incarcerated swear they 'didn't do' the crimes they were convicted of.

Last year I had the pleasure and privilege of sitting at lunch next to a real boxer and ambassador - Sugar Ray Leonard. This was a real man, a gentleman, a benefactor, a role model. Willie asks why many other visitors with dubious backgrounds are let into New Zealand describing this as "hypercritical". The answer is simply because we don't know about these people - politicians don't tell us unless those concerned have a public profile.

I challenge Willie Jackson and his supporters to make public details of just what Tyson believes he has to offer our troubled youth. Then let's look for candidates who are decent human beings who can be trusted, who can be looked up to and have respect for other human beings, men and women.

Jackson says other "notorious criminals" may have come to New Zealand and every second visiting rock band has someone who has committed a crime. However, none threatened at a press conference to 'eat a reporter's baby'.

I believe we can do better than this for our troubled kids. Mike Tyson was never was the best man for this job.

- Herald on Sunday

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