The story of Luke Watson is complex, even by South African rugby standards. It also offers an insight into the deep racial divides - between black and white and even between English-speaking white South Africans and Afrikaners - which have racked the country for decades.
The controversial Springbok flanker has thrust himself back into the spotlight by telling a club rugby festival function that "Dutchmen" (Afrikaners) still run South African rugby and that at times he felt like vomiting on the Springbok emblem.
In a rugby-mad country like New Zealand, disrespecting the silver fern like that would be heresy and this is how his actions are viewed in some sectors of South Africa.
Of course, Watson has protested that he was taken out of context. But it is too late. In the court of white rugby public opinion he has been tried and convicted. The die-hard fan has not forgotten how former Springbok coach Jake White was forced to include Watson in the test team last year.
Let's get one thing straight, Luke Watson is not your average English-speaking white South African and he certainly did not have a normal, sheltered, white middle-class upbringing.
Why? Because he is the son of Dan "Cheeky" Watson and, as he grew up, he was subject to more vilification, rejection and persecution than most boys of his race and class.
In the 1970s Cheeky Watson was the talk of Port Elizabeth, the schizophrenic coastal city with a deeply conservative Afrikaner community and a vibrant anti-apartheid black population.
He burst on the provincial rugby scene as a bustling, try-scoring wing for Eastern Province - a tough task for an Engelsman (Englishman) to do in the Afrikaner-dominated rugby community. He was good enough to be invited to the 1976 Springbok trials and was considered a good bet for the test side.
Then Cheeky Watson did the unthinkable: he turned down the chance to trial for a Springbok jersey. And he went even further. With his brother Valence, he turned his back on whites-only rugby and went to play in the townships.
Today, thousands of kilometres away and living in a more-enlightened time, that might not seem such a big deal. But in the dark, depressing days of apartheid, it was huge. A white rugby man turning his back on his mates to play in the townships was a traitor to most Afrikaners and to some English-speakers.
The risks were also great, because whites needed permission to go into the black townships in those days. Cheeky Watson was incredibly brave, facing arrest or even beatings if caught.
The Watson family was ostracised by the white community and terrorised by the apartheid forces. The family home in Port Elizabeth mysteriously burned down in 1986. The family was accused of insurance fraud when actually the arson was a security police plot against them.
It was this environment which shaped Luke Watson and it gives some perspective on why he has spoken out like this.
He has always been an outsider in the white, establishment community because of his father's ties with the African National Congress. He is also an outsider in the South African rugby community because he is an outspoken Engelsman.
During apartheid, and even to this day, much has been said and written about the huge divide between black and white people, but what outsiders don't realise is that there is often not a lot of love lost between Afrikaners and descendants of the 1820 British settlers.
Rugby matches between Afrikaner and English schools have always been war, with derogatory names, fists and insults hurled frequently.
Before Jake White, there were always suspicions that English-speaking rugby players had to really be very good to make the Springboks. A good example is the English-speaking fullback with the name Percy Montgomery.
Make no mistake, Watson has not helped his cause. His teammates will not forgive him for this. They, like many Springbok supporters, are fiercely loyal to the emblem and consider anything said against it to be akin to blasphemy. Just when it seemed like he was integrating himself with his teammates, he has betrayed them and it might prove difficult for him to ever be accepted as a true teammate.
However, in the black community he has been admired for the stand he has taken against the oppressive apartheid symbol, the Springbok.
Given what his family has been through, Watson almost had no choice but to stand up for what he believed in. Where he erred is that he was unnecessarily derogatory in the process.