A wrongheaded wallop

Streaking was once seen, by those who were minded to smile upon it, as a spasm of devilish whimsy.

As a public entertainment it's now looking, for want of a better word, threadbare.

Just an outlet for intoxicated, vainglorious oafs to play the interloper because they yearn for attention they haven't otherwise earned.

When they burst on to sportsfields it's a little bit dangerous, offensive to some adults and certainly heedless to the presence of children. The upshot is they shouldn't expect dainty treatment.

This does not mean security guard Brad Hemopo's extravagant slam-from-behind tackle that snapped back the head of an naked and intoxicated intruder during the weekend test at the Forsyth Barr stadium was justified in the circumstances.

Hemopo is, himself a rugby player and on this evidence a pretty good one. He's in the wider training squad knocking on Canterbury ITM Cup status. Clearly his own predatory footy instincts kicked in.

He lined up the streaker, who was by that stage down to at most strolling speed, and flattened him from behind in a hit that could easily have caused serious injury.

Those who contend that since streakers have broken the rules all their rights go out the window are letting their anger get the better of them. A fairly robust exercise of containment and removal is entirely in order. But not that godalmighty, vertebrae-imperilling wallop.

He wasn't just doing his job. The streaker was indulging in a boozed-up bravado but Hemopo was guilty of over-adrenalised over-reaction.

Not the worst guy in the world - they're saying it was out of character - but he should have been better trained and more disciplined.

And the streaker, as a district court judge will most likely soon be pointing out to him, should have been off the field. Most importantly, though, nobody should have been at this much risk of spinal injury.

The Southland Times