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Friday Jul 3, 2015

Craig Joubert carding Jacques Potgieter riles commentator Phil Kearns

Craig Joubert carding Jacques Potgieter riles commentator Phil Kearns
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In case you missed it, this was the big call that referee Craig Joubert made in the Super Rugby semi finals that incensed commentator, and Waratahs fan, Phil Kearns. Joubert ruled that Jacques Potgieter’s tackle was high, so not only awarded a penalty try, but chose to yellow card the flanker too.

Former Wallaby hooker Kearns fired back at Kiwi fans this week, defending his comments.

“This week I’ve been copping it from my mates across the ditch. All those Kiwis over there and you know what, they’re giving it to me.

“I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t upset you Kiwis so I’m pretty happy about all this. He [Potgieter] gets yellow carded and I reckon fair enough. The arm comes around and the laws of the game — yes, it was reckless, yes it made contact to the head.

“I’m prepared to cop the yellow card but it should not have been a penalty try – he was no certainty to score that.

“If you’re having a good game as a referee you don’t have 30,000 people chanting, ‘Joubert’s a w*****r’. And at the end of the game he got booed off the field. That would tend to indicate that he didn’t have a good game,” Kearns said.

“I think Joubert’s performance overall was average. I thought there were a lot of inconsistencies. In the commentary position you just call it as you see it. That’s how I saw it.”

Kearns, ahead of an all-New Zealand Super Rugby Final, then hit below the belt.

“Craig Joubert, in my view, is one of the better referees in the game but the other night he had a shocker. So you Kiwis – shut up. That same ref gifted you the World Cup final in 2011 – just ask the rest of the world.”

Former Test referee Jonathan Kaplan, who has officiated at four Rugby World Cups, has slated Kearns for misleading the public, and clearly having a poor understanding of the laws.

“Joubert’s decision was correct. He methodically went through the process, highlighting to the public his thoughts on the matter and then explained his decision very coherently to the Tahs’ captain and the guilty player,” Kaplan explained via his website, ratetheref.co.za

“Given that Osborne only ended up a few centimetres short, it was the referee’s judgment that he would have scored but not for the swinging arm. It seems fair enough, even though to some viewers it may have seemed like a tough call.

“This led to Phil Kearns, a really good guy off the field, spitting his dummy out and showing his true colours by claiming that the referee was having a shocker. He then tried to include Rod Kafer into the mix, who wouldn’t be drawn into the tirade.

“It was an appalling bit of commentary and must have left his employers red-faced at the degree of parochialism he was showing to an audience that deserved better. Not only did he display the petulance that cannot and should not be tolerated, but he misled the public (ignorantly I would say) about the actual events that were transpiring in the match.

“What a joke! And therein lies the issue… the networks are only too keen to get ex-players involved, some of whom only have the most basic knowledge of the laws of the game; and these characters are misleading the public and giving them a distorted view of events.”

22 Comments

  • flanker2712
    8:41 PM 14/07/2015

    Word limit reached! Not much more to add, other than the TV channel would obviously argue that, even with respect to the statements made on air, such comments are not what pundits and commentators are hired for and therefore shouldn't be considered to be made in the normal course of employment. Sorry if I've bored you, but I took your last comment very literally! Any more knowledgeable lawyers feel free to correct me (but maybe we can take it offline!)

    Reply
  • flanker2712
    8:39 PM 14/07/2015

    I am a lawyer, but not a defamation lawyer (so this does NOT constitute legal advice to Joubert, Kearns or anyone else!). Anyone who just wants rugby discussion, stop reading! This could form the basis of a good law school exam question! There are already jurisdiction issues, a questionable cause of action, a plausible defence and potential vicarious liability. You could tag on a breach of contract claim by the TV channel against Kearns. Oh, how I long for those university days of boozing and chasing tail... Assuming English defamation law applied (which would be unlikely given recent changes to restrict defamation tourists coming to London), Joubert would have to show any statement complained of caused "serious harm" to his reputation and lowered Joubert in the estimation of reasonable members of society (or something like that). A statement that he has had a "shocker" could be interpreted as suggesting he is not fit to do his job. Saying that he handed the All Blacks the World Cup could be interpreted as an allegation of cheating or other wrongdoing. So he probably has a case. Kearns would likely use the defence of honest opinion (which in broad terms replaced the defence of fair comment). I'm not sure of the ins and outs of the defence, but if a reasonable person could have held the same opinion based on facts existing at the time the statement was made, then I think he would have a case. Not having access to everything that he said or wrote, it's difficult to know whether he could satisfy other requirements of the defence. Assuming a court found one or more statements defamatory, the TV channel could be held vicariously liable if it could be shown that Kearns was an employee (which would require analysis of his contractual position) and that the tort was committed in the normal course of his employment. The TV channel would clearly try to distinguish between the comments made on air and those made in a personal capacity in the following days.

    Reply
  • colombes
    10:09 PM 07/07/2015

    I can't judge Kearns comments as i didn't see that game. But Kearns reaction just seem like an ego-patriotic tweet than a real analysis. Concerning Joubert performance in the 2011 final, everything has been said and repeated. Personally, i just remember a ref who literally shitted in his pants during the last 20 minutes... But how can u blame him? he didn't want to waste the party.

    Reply
  • stroudos
    3:15 PM 07/07/2015

    "If you're having a good game as a referee you don't have 30,000 people chanting, 'Joubert's a w*****r'. And at the end of the game he got booed off the field. That would tend to indicate that he didn't have a good game," Kearns said.No, Kearnsy. That would indicate that 30,000 people got lost on their way to the football stadium. Really disappointed in Kearns for this. I usually quite enjoy his commentary but this is real tawdry gutter stuff.

    Reply
  • stroudos
    3:13 PM 07/07/2015

    kadova, there you go again, all you French people who come on RD and post balanced and well-informed comments showing both insight and empathy. You make me sick. ;) Personally I thought he had an absolute stinker in the RWC 2011 final. I think he lost his bottle because of the enormity of the occasion, because he's usually a very competent ref.

    Reply
  • stroudos
    3:10 PM 07/07/2015

    It's an interesting point. I would have thought if Joubert wanted to pursue Kearns legally, there's a case here for slander. And ordinarily, unless there is a massive disclaimer in place, the vehicle for slander would share the responsibility. Then again I'm not a lawyer. I'd be interested to hear a more knowledgeable viewpoint on this...

    Reply
  • stroudos
    3:08 PM 07/07/2015

    Nothing controversial there mate.

    Reply
  • stroudos
    3:04 PM 07/07/2015

    Can we get a message to DrG that someone's using his log-in?

    Reply
  • drg
    10:07 PM 05/07/2015

    ....you're right, I did indeed wonder your sexual orientation, perhaps if you are indeed homosexual then your views will differ from my friends, as no doubt my 'straight' views will differ from other peoples 'straight' views... is straight acceptable? Well then, you state you did not say the word gay should not be used, therefore is it not an acceptance that the word gay and what we all know to be the 'n word' are two totally different topics? I mean, if you were to ever ask someone about their sexual orientation, you may ask them if they're gay. You're hardly going to ask someone if they're a n****r are you!!! The notion of a gay rugby fan/player is too far for me to consider? One of my all time favourite players is Gareth Thomas... perhaps you've heard of him.. Then there is always Nigel Owens, a referee who I personally consider to be a great referee; as well as him being recognised internationally as a top referee... Then of course 'my gay friend'... did you indeed ask me whether the guy is into sports? I guess by your assumption of me, there is no chance, as the notion would be beyond my capability. You fail to see my point, I understand that you feel the word gay should not be used negatively. I agree, that is why when it is thrown about among a group of friends in private, there is no harm done. I have already stated it should not be used on the rugby pitch. My point; if you care to address it, is that homophobia is the fear of homosexuals, and as I repeat, the right or wrong adaptation of it, is that it has become a word meaning the hatred of homosexuals. Now, point being, do you know whether Jacques hates homosexuals? Or, as I said above, is he simply a loud mouth that needs to be told to shut up. This whole thing has stemmed off intolerance, I suspect because of Jacques past intolerance, you're now firmly in the camp that whatever he achieves, you'll always have an intolerance towards him. Ignorance is bliss, but hypocrites are 1/2wits

    Reply
  • drg
    4:36 PM 05/07/2015

    Firstly I never described it as lad banter. Secondly, I fail to see how you are telling my gay friend how he should behave? Last time I checked, he was the gay person, and if he feels it's appropriate to speak in the manner that he feels then who am I to argue?! Lastly, following on from 10stone10, if my gay friend felt aggrieved by anyone on a night out, chances are he would dish out a left hook... All in all I fail to see the rift he is creating by acknowledging that it is just a word that doesn't have to require any more meaning that the person using it implies:.. The word cunt, which I detest, is quite common on the rugby pitch, is the speaker of this word anti feminine genitals? Have a fear towards female genitals? Or is he simply grabbing at anyword his brain can get and spurting it out to show his unhappiness... The difference between the movements is nil, the difference between the words is phenomenal. In public I can guarantee you'd read the racial slur as 'the n word' because of the FEAR of misunderstanding by people around you, however 'the g word'?!? Would that happen? I doubt it, because it's has been adopted to describe someone's sexual orientation and adopted by gay people.... Anyway, onto the point at hand, your first post, Jacques is homophobic. Homophobia is a fear of homosexual people.... It is also rightly or wrongly adopted to describe a hatred of gay people... Do you really think he has a hatred of gay people? Or do you think he is a loudmouth that needs to be told to shut up! I suspect any adult or child that has ever uttered the word gay is now homophobic for life by your rationale? Is my gay friend homophobic?

    Reply
  • 10stonenumber10
    4:06 PM 05/07/2015

    I've said it before... 'lad banter' is thinly veiled racism, homophobia and sometimes just downright bullying. Laughing and joking along with it may gain some bonus points with the big mouth tw*ts who pick the team... but underneath their over-compensated exterior and self-titled "legend" image, they are nothing but insecure cowards lacking the intelligence to crack a proper joke or say something genuinely witty. Year 5 playground insults, the lowest common denominator. Don't get personal with people and then try to laugh it off as banter... as quick as the insult is, a left hook is even quicker. Just ask Carl Fearns, Gav doesn't remember...

    Reply
  • drg
    12:49 PM 05/07/2015

    You're really going to drawn the similarity between a racial insult and this?!?! Gay people refer to themselves as gay, the vast majority of black people don't tend to introduce themselves as "hi I'm xyz I'm a nigger"... So gay is not really an insult whereas "nigger" is offensive! Surely I know what I am saying; I have a gay friend... Or are you suggesting that putting gay before friend is an insult... I mean I have black friends too...or is that an insult?!? I mean I have a 'friend who is a dick' or do I mean a 'dick friend' (now it's getting gay in here!). Onto the topic at hand, my gay friend is actually showing how pathetic drawing fixed lines is... If he was to purposely make an issue about how different we all are because he is gay and I am not, then wouldn't that further fuel the fire?! Wouldn't it be better if he took the sting out of the word and so instead of it being used like a direct insult (like 'nigger' which let's face it, is a direct insult to black people...or is it racist to say black now?!) it just becomes a word? Granted I don't want to hear it being batted about on the pitch as we are trying to make an inclusive sport and I certainly agree, the pros should be setting a standard, however to label someone homophobic is pathetic! You don't know if he has a hatred or intolerance for gay people do you? The problem with people like yourself is that if you don't let something go then it'll forever form a rift! Would you pass up a chance to meet the Tahs because Jacques would be there? Would you shake everyone's hand but his? Are you being intolerant of his intolerance? Or would you rather just say "Jacques you made a mistake with your language, let's get on with life"... If he continues then by all means nail him to the wall, but to come on here and start the ball rolling by calling him a homophobic thug just shows how we all think we're better than everyone else.... "he who is without sin cast the first stone"? ..uh oh..I brought religion

    Reply
  • drg
    8:34 PM 04/07/2015

    Mate, to be fair, Potgeiter is not the first bloke to call someone gay or a fag or something along those lines on a rugby pitch or anywhere else in the world... Nowadays it's labelled as homophobic, in the past it was flitted about as an insult without any sort of thought... If you called someone a dickhead, do you really mean they have a Penis instead of their head? Or are you just trying to verbally inform someone you dislike them... I'm not trying to defend upsetting gay people, but I've got a gay friend who will call someone 'gay' and get called gay all as just a dig... The actual meaning tends to get lost... Anyway, point is, he may actually not hate gay people, which your comment suggests...

    Reply
  • drg
    8:07 PM 04/07/2015

    Except there have been studies concluding the opposite of what you state... It also comes down to context, if I as a referee let a knock on go that is on the halfway line, should I then also let a knock on go for the other tean if it's on the tryline? Or should I try and wait for another half way knock on? Or should I not have let it go in the first place?

    Reply
  • kadova
    4:18 PM 04/07/2015

    I agree with you all about Kearns and his comments. But about Joubert, i agree he's not perfect, but at that final, his refereeing did not advantage the ABs. As a French supporter, i was at first very upset about the way i saw him refereeing. But we got his refereeing studied very closely by a team of referees, both French and Europeans referees. And the outcome of the study was he made mistakes evenly so no team was actually advantaged by his mistakes. And this outcome was validated by Joel Jutge who's now the boss of world refereeing (and secondary, he's French too).

    Reply
  • browner
    9:16 AM 04/07/2015

    Conceptually? Can a commentator bring his station into disrepute ? If not then punditry is a 'license' to spout off this way.

    Reply
  • suntzu
    7:38 AM 04/07/2015

    I believe Kaplan's article was written prior to Kearns' comments hence why he did't address that one in particular...

    Reply
  • drg
    11:55 PM 03/07/2015

    I disagree with you barry, obviously we won't see eye to eye regarding this incident, but then if you don't agree that the Highlander was going to reach the line then it falls down to a judgement call, I think he would have reached the line, you don't... That's another topic.. But, when you say "rule (law) of giving a yellow card with a penalty try is basically unfair", again I have to disagree (again). I have been lucky enough to be kicked in the balls on two occasions when I was clean through, the first time I limped over the line, the second time I hit the deck and that was it.. I would have made it to the try line had the player that kicked me, well not...

    Reply
  • drg
    11:46 PM 03/07/2015

    I don't understand the controversy over this decision....although no doubt I will create some common controversy with my comment... - It's clear to see that it was a forearm to the head of the highlanders player. It may have been entirely accidental, however it happened... therefore... - That can, and in this instance, was punished with a yellow card...therefore... - If you are punishing a player who committed foul play you must also look at what cause his foul play had on that instance in the game... therefore... - A penalty try was awarded because HAD Potgieter not been there at all (which is the direction of the penalty try), then the highlanders player would not have been shoved slightly sideways and would (in mine and others opinions), have scored that try...therefore.. - correct decision.. So I believe a line can be drawn under that particular incident. The other subject is Jouberts overall refereeing, I did not see the game, therefore I cannot comment on whether he had a shocker or not. I will say, that on a whole, I have found Jouberts refereeing to be questionable, maybe 'my team' has been on the wrong end of his refereeing (I can't honestly say yes or no definitively), but I do believe that *sorry I'm going there*, his refereeing in the 2011 RWC final was appalling... Kearns shouldn't have said the words (because of his stature and position in the public eye) however "That same ref gifted you the World Cup final in 2011 - just ask the rest of the world." is kind of honest...

    Reply
  • sportbarry
    8:37 PM 03/07/2015

    I think the rule of giving a yellow card with a penalty try is basically unfair, especially as in my opinion it was open handed and got a hand on the ball to try and rip it out and contact was accidental. (the other side of the argument is it was reckless, he took the chance when making that tackle, he had to go around the body) However the key thing, is this is the rule, and Joubert was correct. Changing the law is a different argument

    Reply
  • guy
    7:59 PM 03/07/2015

    Don't feed it...

    Reply
  • guy
    7:58 PM 03/07/2015

    At first I thought he had an emotional outburst during the game. But his comments afterwards, although they might be a bit out of context, are just ridicilous. Being called a wanker by 30.000 fans on the losing side says noting about the ref's performance but everything about the crowd. Using that to cover up your own limited knowledge of the laws and the game, is just plain dumb.

    Reply


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Craig Joubert carding Jacques Potgieter riles commentator Phil Kearns | RugbyDump - Rugby News & Videos