Andrew Mulligan: Hayne train loses goodwill

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Cross-code star’s Fijian sevens bid latest sports story to light up internet.
Many fans were impressed when Jarryd Hayne gave the NFL a go. Picture / AP
Many fans were impressed when Jarryd Hayne gave the NFL a go. Picture / AP

Steven Adams, Jarryd Hayne, Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor. Last week, it was Naz and Jordan, and The Bachelor and last year, it was probably sharks, house prices, SBW and Dan Carter.

These are what people are reading; the fast-evolving stories that flame out as fast as they're read. The day Sonny Bill Williams rides a shark into an auction room to buy a Ponsonby villa near Lorde is the day websites collapse in on themselves like a Large Hadron Collider experiment. But only if Max Key Instagrams it first.

There are fine words written about less tasty topics but this week, the clicking was all on Adams and Hayne. Adams as a story does not polarise people but Hayne does.

The 'good on ya, mate' feeling towards him when he had a crack at the NFL, despite taking someone's spot who was arguably more deserving, has evaporated because he's attempting to do the same to a member of the Fijian sevens team.

It's compelling for a number of reasons. Sonny Bill is the master of his own domain when it comes to working what's best for him when sport chews you up and spits you out.

Hayne has a wonderful sense of romanticism in a cynical sports world. He has a flair for career change announcements and the backlash seems to come from couch potatoes who never did anything, frustrated by talented sportsmen maximising the opportunities that vanish as quickly as they appear.

Conversely, Adams has made the jump, as discussed last week, and with the attention comes the chiding about his post-game interview with ESPN about that awkward simile.

There have been so many articles about him which are warming the cockles of Kiwi sports fans' hearts - even the same who are cynical towards Hayne.

Adams is different, dedicated and wonderfully unaffected by NBA life. The only lingering resentment is his dedication to improving his NBA game and contract potential rather than play for the Tall Blacks. But it's the smart decision and no one should begrudge him maximising his future while he's still only 22.

UFC star McGregor and the undefeated Mayweather are going to fight each other. There is too much money at stake for them to pass it up. There are many obstacles to overcome and it will take time but it seems both fighters are prepared to do it because of the pay-per-view money and the desire of each to beat the other.

Much smarter fight observers have rightly pointed out the weight difference is too much, that it's a mismatch if it's in the boxing ring and contractually McGregor isn't allowed to do it under his UFC obligations but these camps will find a way.

Either with UFC's blessing or, as SB Nation's MMA blog Bloody Elbow worked out, through litigation using a boxing version of a restraint of trade called the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act.

I know it's a long shot and couldn't possibly happen, fight fans, and I've heard all the sensible reasons why, but we're dealing with promoters, lawyers and egos in the US and that is a heady cocktail of perseverance in the sports world.

Click on, and lap up the twists and turns of these hot topics. And keep an eye out for the Auckland apocalypse of SBW riding a shark while you're at it.

- NZ Herald

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