Displaying a impressive knack for totalitarianism, the International Rugby Board has decided to impose penalties on teams that show insufficient respect for the haka during the Rugby World Cup next year.
When, where and how does this kind of irredeemable stupidity take hold? How many people must stand silent or bite their tongues and allow something like this to evolve from bad idea to terrible decision?
Have the All Blacks themselves expressed a fear of haka-mocking? Do they feel that only the prospect of penalties will keep recalcitrant opposition players from turning their nose up at New Zealand’s iconic challenge? God forbid, could offense ensue without an adequate codification of manners? Could umbrage occur? Thankfully, the IRB is comfortable with the idea of regulating against poor manners, so our poor players will never need to feel the sting of disrespect, the hot shame of a cultural dissing.
The All Blacks should announce that they will pay the fines of any country that chooses to defy this astoundingly misguided ban. Whatever the small financial cost, the on-field shellacking that has always followed haka-related rudeness will more than make up for it.