It's hard to work out whether BMW
is speeding towards a crisis or away from one. But the famous German car maker has been slow on the uptake when it comes to Sonny Bill Williams.
SBW has been a Muslim since about 2009 which means there is a very good chance he has associated with his religion's clerics for seven years. BMW signed SBW as an ambassador late last year. Now they are suddenly worried about the clerics he hangs out with, and particularly one who is violently anti-gay.
Many Muslims and Islam are regarded as anti-gay, and they aren't the first religious people to be guilty of that. (Last year, for instance, the Catholic Pope re-affirmed a ban on gay priests). SBW has never uttered an anti-gay word, so far as I can make out.
SBW should be proactive, and tell BMW to take a hike before they drop him off. He's got the right to hang out with whoever the heck he wants to hang out with, without being branded for their views. In other words, do you agree with everything your friends, associates and leaders believe?
As PR boss Bill Ralston says, this smacks of being a witch hunt, one (in my opinion) of religious intolerance against Muslims and Islam.
Duco Events continues to promote the Brisbane rugby 10s tournament next month by clinging to the impression they give that many current All Blacks will be involved, even though the players association boss Rob Nichol publicly states they won't.
Duco's statement on this, made Tuesday, was disingenuous containing loopholes like the phrase 'provisional squads'. Here's a question for Duco. Two weeks out from the inaugural tournament, which star All Blacks are guaranteed to play? ABSOLUTELY GUARANTEED. Under consumer rights norms, the paying public has a right to know.
Duco might win the odd concession from New Zealand Rugby, but the superstars will not come out to play.
Why stop at promoting a tournament by advertising a level of All Black players who won't be there? Look, I've got this great idea, about how to make these 'Global 10s' even more global. Duco should call next year's tournament in Brisbane the London-New York-Paris Tens. Magic.
For those wanting the steer
on where New Zealand Rugby stands on the Brisbane 10s, this is my reading of events.
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has said no way, his star players can't play in the 10-a-side tournament. And under the NZR central contract system, they are indeed his players rather than the franchises'.
While Hansen has yet to reveal his thinking, we all know the season is too long, that the players even need protecting from themselves.
But Hansen, who deals with a lot of pressure every year, is on holiday and he's not interrupting that to get embroiled in a debate. Fair enough. But he is the man driving this decision, make no mistake.
NZR boss Steve Tew has been quiet because this is Hansen's call. After a torrid 2016 thanks to Aaron "Airport" Smith, the Childish Chiefs et. al, Tew is avoiding this firestorm.
However, some of us would like to know if the all-powerful NZR okayed the use of the players' images (Israel Dagg, Jerome Kaino, Damian McKenzie).
Bottom line: There was always major doubt about whether the All Blacks could take part - Nichol makes that fairly clear, and I have been given the same impression, indirectly, by a leading player manager.
Hardly a day goes by without another story involving Eddie Jones. The media is obsessed with the England rugby coach, and the England coach is obsessed, full stop.
Yet another England rugby news flash: The England players will limit cellphone use to increase their spatial awareness, now that Dr Cherylle Calder has joined the England staff.
Come on troops, how much spatial awareness does an England team really need? Cellphone checking in a crowd is perfect training for a team which specialises in scrums and mauls. The great news for England's opponents is that Jones and his team are swamping themselves with over-thinking.
True to form, the cellphone bizzo is already old news. We've moved on to fresh revelations, that England's defence coach has been working with a mixed martial arts expert. Next week: Eddie Jones hires a taxi driver to help his players find the fastest way to training.
There was a time when observing a nail going rusty in the backyard was more exciting than watching women's cricket, when the phrase 'runs per over' was a plural too far. T20 is changing that.
Women's cricket is still a long way short of the entertainment men provide, but watch their Big Bash from Australia and you will see fantastic shot making from the likes of Kiwi star Suzie Bates, the Perth captain. Some of the bowling is ordinary though.
Finally...tragic news from the world rally championship, where a spectator was killed in Monte Carlo after an accident involving Kiwi Hayden Paddon. Surprise, surprise. Have you seen where spectators stand during rallies?