Black Cap faces censorship after 'faggot' furore

Last updated 11:38 26/11/2008

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Future blogs by New Zealand cricketer Iain O'Brien will be vetted after his claims he was called a "faggot" by Brisbane spectators made headlines today.

O'Brien's personal blog from the first test in Brisbane hit sports websites around the world after sections were quoted in newspapers in Australia.

"I don't know how many times I was called a 'faggot'," O'Brien wrote of fielding on the boundary at the Gabba.

"You get called anything and everything. Embarrassing for these guys really, as a lot of the others around them are cringing.

"The crowds here are pretty good, ruined by a few – actually quite a few – idiots who think a day out at the cricket is just to abuse the guys playing, any way how."

New Zealand manager Lindsay Crocker today said he had spoken to O'Brien, who was staggered the blog had made headlines and did not want to make a formal complaint to Cricket Australia (CA).

"There's a reference in there to some of the things the crowd said, but it wasn't intended to be a complaint," Crocker said.

"It was just his observations of his day and that's been picked out of it."

Crocker said O'Brien was keen to continue posting his blogs from each day's play, but agreed he would "run it past" the team's media manager John Durning beforehand.

"The fact Iain's profile has risen quite a lot means it's being read by a lot more people, but he wants to continue writing it, he gets a great deal of enjoyment out of it."

Crocker said O'Brien was the only current test player who wrote a blog.

It was standard practice for any published piece of writing by contracted players to be vetted by New Zealand Cricket.

CA public affairs manager Peter Young said CA met Crocker at the start of the tour to inform him of a 24-hour support hotline if any of the team or management were subjected to unacceptable treatment.

Crocker said nothing on this tour had reached a level where such action was necessary.

Young said CA was surprised to read today's reports.

"The police and security report after the Gabba was the behaviour was the best it has been for a quite a number of years," Young said.

"We made it clear to the New Zealand team we have formal procedures in place but we need to be realistic.

"People will come along, they'll shout their heads off, there will be all sorts of comments shouted at players.

"That's part and parcel of how cricket gets played in Australia, in New Zealand and all around the world. Indeed, Australian players themselves get abused in different states."

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It is hardly a new phenomenon for New Zealand players to be taunted by Australian crowds.

Bowling great Sir Richard Hadlee wrote in his book of his anger at being repeatedly called a "wanker" in the 1980s, which moved him to publicly question the Australian education system.

The Gabba has been a flashpoint for crowd trouble in the past, such as in 2003 when Sri Lankan Muttiah Muralitharan was taunted by the crowd with relentless chants of "monkey" and "f. . . off, chucker".

In 2006, South African players Makhaya Ntini, Garnett Kruger, Herschelle Gibbs and Ashwell Prince claimed they were taunted with racial gibes while warming up at the Gabba.

Australian grounds have been repeatedly warned they could be stripped of their international status if foul-mouthed outbursts continue to flare.



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