Case Number: 922

Council Meeting: MAY 2003

Verdict: Not Upheld

Publication: Sunday-Star Times

Ruling Categories: Discrimination

Jay Berriman complained about the “Being Frank” column, an opinion column written by the ex-All Black Frank Bunce, published on 3 November 2002 in the Sunday Star-Times. Headlined “They’re a terrible team to lose to, but the Poms might just be too good”, the column started “What is it about England? Everyone hates them. They’re the worst team in test rugby you can lose to. And I’m speaking from experience”. Later the columnist repeated a comment he had made in 1993 when he had been on TV before the match “… I’d hate losing to the English.” They lost.

Mr Berriman said the opening comments regarding losing to the English were spiteful and it was unfair to generalise about the English as a whole in this way. He went on to highlight the folly of antagonising other nations.

The Press Council said that Mr Berriman’s complaint relied on a few sentences taken in isolation. The target of the column was clearly the English rugby team not as Mr Berriman says “the English as a whole”.

The complaint is not upheld.