Wynne Gray

Wynne Gray is a Herald columnist

Rugby: Pat Lam breaks down over racist taunts

Pat Lam got emotional while talking to the media this afternoon. Photo / Getty Images
Pat Lam got emotional while talking to the media this afternoon. Photo / Getty Images

Blues coach Pat Lam has broken down at a press conference after being asked about racial comments directed at his family.

Lam has faced some vitriol from fans over the Blues' performance so far this season but said comments that the Blues were losing because he was a Pacific Islander were just offensive.

The Blues sit equal-last on the competition ladder with only one win from their six games and have come under increasing scrutiny since their abject 34-23 defeat to the Rebels last week.

Lam choked up as he spoke about the effect of the criticism on his parents, who are of Samoan descent, and extended family.

"Certainly my parents, they gave up um ..........sorry,'' he said as his eyes welled up.

"They gave up, sacrificed themselves for us to come here and have a good life, yeah, so it hurts my parents.

Sorry, sorry,'' he said.

He said he was concentrating on his job but the question about his parents had revived memories of the racial suffering they had endured at times.

His emotion was all about his parents, he said.

When he was targeted by talkback callers and others, that affected his parents because he was their loved son.

"It is just sad that we live in the country where people, and it is only a minority and I know that, when they have a forum to speak and say that and people jump on that bandwagon I feel for them.''

Blues players such as captain Keven Mealamu and many others in the squad had Pacific Island or Maori backgrounds and those sort of comments were also hurtful to them.

"Lots of them are All Blacks who won a World Cup, they are intelligent good men and it is a shame those things are around,'' Lam said.

But he said he was knuckling down to a job he enjoyed and working hard to get the team out of their losing streak.

"Adversity brings the strength and when I think about my parents and the times they went through and the people they are, it is what I am and what I am working to do with this team,'' Lam said..

"It is sad really. It really is. It's been ongoing. We totally accept the criticism that we get particularly when people put names on it and that's why I appreciate all you guys,'' he told the media.

"I know you guys are just doing your job and we deserve what we get when we don't win and we deserve when we win. It's the faceless people and that's the social media and so forth and talkback where people say things that are pretty offensive.''

- NZ Herald

Your views

Stats provided by

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_n4 at 21 Aug 2014 15:45:14 Processing Time: 906ms