Blues' Pat Lam hits out at racist criticism

Blues players celebrate after winning their round 18 match against the Brumbies at Canberra Stadium.
Blues players celebrate after winning their round 18 match against the Brumbies at Canberra Stadium.
Ma'a Nonu of the Blues is tackled against the Brumbies at Canberra Stadium.
Ma'a Nonu of the Blues is tackled against the Brumbies at Canberra Stadium.
Robbie Coleman of the Brumbies is tackled against the Blues at Canberra Stadium.
Robbie Coleman of the Brumbies is tackled against the Blues at Canberra Stadium.
Alby Mathewson of the Blues kicks the ball against the Brumbies at Canberra Stadium.
Alby Mathewson of the Blues kicks the ball against the Brumbies at Canberra Stadium.
Luke Braid in action against the Force.
Luke Braid in action against the Force.
Ma'a Nonu in action against the Force.
Ma'a Nonu in action against the Force.
Piri Weepu in action against the Force.
Piri Weepu in action against the Force.
Francis Saili fends the Force's Will Tupou.
Francis Saili fends the Force's Will Tupou.
Francis Saili is tackled by the Force's Nick Cummins.
Francis Saili is tackled by the Force's Nick Cummins.
Lachie Munroe scores for the Blues.
Lachie Munroe scores for the Blues.
Rene Ranger sets up the Blues' second try.
Rene Ranger sets up the Blues' second try.
Blues tighthead prop Tevita Mailau scores against the Highlanders.
Blues tighthead prop Tevita Mailau scores against the Highlanders.
Highlanders left wing Hosea Gear in action against the Blues.
Highlanders left wing Hosea Gear in action against the Blues.
Blues right wing David Raikuna is scragged by Highlanders halfback Jimmy Cowan.
Blues right wing David Raikuna is scragged by Highlanders halfback Jimmy Cowan.
Blues player Francis Saili is tackled by Chiefs player Sona Taumalolo.
Blues player Francis Saili is tackled by Chiefs player Sona Taumalolo.
Blues reserves Piri Weepu, Ma'a Nonu and Ali Williams on the bench against the Highlanders.
Blues reserves Piri Weepu, Ma'a Nonu and Ali Williams on the bench against the Highlanders.
Chiefs and Blues players have a group hug at North Harbour Stadium.
Chiefs and Blues players have a group hug at North Harbour Stadium.
Highlanders centre Tamati Ellison is tackled by Blues' second-five Michael Hobbs.
Highlanders centre Tamati Ellison is tackled by Blues' second-five Michael Hobbs.
David Raikuna (L) and Ma'a Nonu against the Crusaders at the new AMI Stadium at Rugby League Park in Christchurch.
David Raikuna (L) and Ma'a Nonu against the Crusaders at the new AMI Stadium at Rugby League Park in Christchurch.
Zac Guildford is tackled by Angus Ta'avao (top) and Steven Luata of the Blues at the new AMI Stadium at Rugby League Park in Christchurch.
Zac Guildford is tackled by Angus Ta'avao (top) and Steven Luata of the Blues at the new AMI Stadium at Rugby League Park in Christchurch.
Robbie Fruean on attack against the Blues at the new AMI Stadium at Rugby League Park in Christchurch.
Robbie Fruean on attack against the Blues at the new AMI Stadium at Rugby League Park in Christchurch.
Dan Carter cool under pressure against the Blues at the new AMI Stadium at Rugby League Park in Christchurch.
Dan Carter cool under pressure against the Blues at the new AMI Stadium at Rugby League Park in Christchurch.
Blues right wing David Raikuna in action against the Lions.
Blues right wing David Raikuna in action against the Lions.
Referee Angus Gardner issues a yellow card to Deon van Rensburg of the Lions.
Referee Angus Gardner issues a yellow card to Deon van Rensburg of the Lions.
Blues wing Benson Stanley tries to step Lions fullback Andries Coetzee.
Blues wing Benson Stanley tries to step Lions fullback Andries Coetzee.
Blues second-five Michael Hobbs scores the opening try against the Lions.
Blues second-five Michael Hobbs scores the opening try against the Lions.
Blues wing Benson Stanley is tackled by Lions wing Deon Van Rensburg.
Blues wing Benson Stanley is tackled by Lions wing Deon Van Rensburg.
Blues halfback Piri Weepu tries to escape from Lions flanker Grant Hattingh.
Blues halfback Piri Weepu tries to escape from Lions flanker Grant Hattingh.
Blues centre Ma'a Nonu runs at Lions halfback Ross Cronje.
Blues centre Ma'a Nonu runs at Lions halfback Ross Cronje.
Hurricanes' Karl Lowe on the charge against the Blues.
Hurricanes' Karl Lowe on the charge against the Blues.
Blues tighthead prop Charlie Faumuina tackled by Reds' Scott Higginbotham.
Blues tighthead prop Charlie Faumuina tackled by Reds' Scott Higginbotham.
Highlanders player Hosea Gear about to be tackled by Blues players.
Highlanders player Hosea Gear about to be tackled by Blues players.
Victor Vito wins the ball over Ma'a Nonu.
Victor Vito wins the ball over Ma'a Nonu.
Highlanders' Jarrad Hoeata tackling Blues' George Moala.
Highlanders' Jarrad Hoeata tackling Blues' George Moala.
Blues first five Gareth Anscombe tries to escape from Reds centre Digby Ioane.
Blues first five Gareth Anscombe tries to escape from Reds centre Digby Ioane.
Cory Jane slips through a Piri Weepu tackle.
Cory Jane slips through a Piri Weepu tackle.
Blues player Tom McCartney lines up the Highlanders' Adam Thomson.
Blues player Tom McCartney lines up the Highlanders' Adam Thomson.
Blues' Piri Weepu passes against the Hurricanes.
Blues' Piri Weepu passes against the Hurricanes.
Blues lock Filo Paulo scragged by Reds first five Ben Lucas.
Blues lock Filo Paulo scragged by Reds first five Ben Lucas.
Reds centre Digby Ioane runs at Blues second-five Ma'a Nonu.
Reds centre Digby Ioane runs at Blues second-five Ma'a Nonu.
Tom McCartney of the Blues shows his disappointment after their loss to the Highlanders at Forsyth Barr Stadium.
Tom McCartney of the Blues shows his disappointment after their loss to the Highlanders at Forsyth Barr Stadium.
Rene Ranger of the Blues dives for the tryline against the Highlanders.
Rene Ranger of the Blues dives for the tryline against the Highlanders.
Michael Hobbs juggles the ball during the Blues loss to the Sharks.
Michael Hobbs juggles the ball during the Blues loss to the Sharks.
Ma'a Nonu chases JP Pietersen and the ball during the Blues' loss to the Sharks.
Ma'a Nonu chases JP Pietersen and the ball during the Blues' loss to the Sharks.
Ma'a Nonu and Gareth Anscombe discuss tactics during the Blues' loss to the Sharks.
Ma'a Nonu and Gareth Anscombe discuss tactics during the Blues' loss to the Sharks.
Blues players celebrate Benson Stanley's try against the Sharks.
Blues players celebrate Benson Stanley's try against the Sharks.
Blues fans show their support for coach Pat Lam.
Blues fans show their support for coach Pat Lam.
The Blues are disconsolate after conceding a try to the Sharks.
The Blues are disconsolate after conceding a try to the Sharks.
The Rebels celebrate after they defeated the Blues.
The Rebels celebrate after they defeated the Blues.
James O’Connor of the Rebels celebrates with Mitch Inman after he scored against the Blues.
James O’Connor of the Rebels celebrates with Mitch Inman after he scored against the Blues.
Rudi Wulf of the Blues is tackled by Rebels defenders during their round seven match.
Rudi Wulf of the Blues is tackled by Rebels defenders during their round seven match.
Ali Williams of the Blues runs with the ball against the Rebels.
Ali Williams of the Blues runs with the ball against the Rebels.
Ma'a Nonu of the Blues looks to get past James O’Connor of the Rebels.
Ma'a Nonu of the Blues looks to get past James O’Connor of the Rebels.
Gareth Anscombe of the Blues is hauled in by Rebels defenders during their round seven match.
Gareth Anscombe of the Blues is hauled in by Rebels defenders during their round seven match.
Ma'a Nonu of the Blues celebrates with Piri Weepu after scoring a try against the Hurricanes at Eden Park.
Ma'a Nonu of the Blues celebrates with Piri Weepu after scoring a try against the Hurricanes at Eden Park.
Blues lock Ali Williams claims a restart against the Hurricanes.
Blues lock Ali Williams claims a restart against the Hurricanes.
Chris Lowrey of the Blues passes against the Stormers.
Chris Lowrey of the Blues passes against the Stormers.
Stormers flanker Duane Vermeulen wins the lineout dagainst the Blues.
Stormers flanker Duane Vermeulen wins the lineout dagainst the Blues.
Blues centre Ma'a Nonu finds a gap against the Stormers.
Blues centre Ma'a Nonu finds a gap against the Stormers.
Stormers hooker Tiaan Liebenberg charges the Blues' defence.
Stormers hooker Tiaan Liebenberg charges the Blues' defence.
Blues second five eighth Ma'a Nonu dives over to score in the tackle of Hurricanes flanker Jack Lam.
Blues second five eighth Ma'a Nonu dives over to score in the tackle of Hurricanes flanker Jack Lam.
Andries Bekker of the Stormers charges the Blues' defence.
Andries Bekker of the Stormers charges the Blues' defence.
Hurricanes fullback Andre Taylor steps past Blues fullback Lachie Munro as he heads to the try-line.
Hurricanes fullback Andre Taylor steps past Blues fullback Lachie Munro as he heads to the try-line.
Ma'a Nonu of the Blues is tackled by Morne Steyn of the Bulls.
Ma'a Nonu of the Blues is tackled by Morne Steyn of the Bulls.
Wynand Olivier of the Bulls is tackled by Daniel Braid of the Blues.
Wynand Olivier of the Bulls is tackled by Daniel Braid of the Blues.
Rene Ranger of the Blues is tackled by Akona Ndungane of the Bulls.
Rene Ranger of the Blues is tackled by Akona Ndungane of the Bulls.
Ali Williams of the Blues and Juandre Kruger of the Bulls.
Ali Williams of the Blues and Juandre Kruger of the Bulls.
Alby Mathewson of the Blues in action against the Bulls.
Alby Mathewson of the Blues in action against the Bulls.
Jacques Potgieter of the Bulls is tackled by Benson Stanley and Luke Braid of the Blues.
Jacques Potgieter of the Bulls is tackled by Benson Stanley and Luke Braid of the Blues.
Blues first-five Michael Hobbs is hit by Sonny Bill Williams after punting the ball downfield.
Blues first-five Michael Hobbs is hit by Sonny Bill Williams after punting the ball downfield.
Benson Stanley passes to his right, under pressure from Sonny Bill Williams.
Benson Stanley passes to his right, under pressure from Sonny Bill Williams.
Piri Weepu runs at the Chiefs line after coming on as a second half substitute.
Piri Weepu runs at the Chiefs line after coming on as a second half substitute.
Isaia Toeava of the Blues makes a break during the round two Super Rugby match between the Chiefs and the Blues.
Isaia Toeava of the Blues makes a break during the round two Super Rugby match between the Chiefs and the Blues.
Piri Weepu and Jerome Kaino of the Blues chase down Aaron Cruden and the ball.
Piri Weepu and Jerome Kaino of the Blues chase down Aaron Cruden and the ball.
The Blues' David Raikuna is tackled during their second round loss against the Chiefs.
The Blues' David Raikuna is tackled during their second round loss against the Chiefs.
Jerome Kaino attempts to charge the kick of Crusaders halfback Andy Ellis.
Jerome Kaino attempts to charge the kick of Crusaders halfback Andy Ellis.
Blues replacement Piri Weepu in action against the Crusaders.
Blues replacement Piri Weepu in action against the Crusaders.
Blues first five Michael Hobbs is tackled by Crusaders second five Ryan Crotty.
Blues first five Michael Hobbs is tackled by Crusaders second five Ryan Crotty.
Blues wing David Raikuna celebrates his try with Blues openside flanker Daniel Braid.
Blues wing David Raikuna celebrates his try with Blues openside flanker Daniel Braid.
Blues captain Keven Mealamu in action against the Crusaders.
Blues captain Keven Mealamu in action against the Crusaders.

An emotional Pat Lam has hit out at racial criticism being fired about as a reason for the failings of his Blues team.

The racial theories of a Blues squad coached by a Samoan and containing many Polynesian players have started to invade internet message boards and talkback radio as the team struggles with five losses and just one win in Super Rugby.

Lam twice broke down, fighting back tears, as he tried to explain his anger at that to a large throng of media in Auckland today.

He made it clear he and his players were happy to have criticism thrown at them for their sloppy start to the season but there was no place for the racial undertones.

"It's sad really, it really is," he said as he named his team to play the Sharks in Auckland on Friday night.

"We totally accept the criticism that we get when we don't perform. But it's the racist people ... the social media and talkback where people say things that are pretty offensive.

"The question about the racial stuff is what I'm upset about.

"It's just sad that we live in a country that has that but it's just a minority and I know that."

Lam said he could take the criticism but wasn't prepared to have it affect his family, particularly his parents who "sacrificed themselves for us to come here and have a good life".

"It's different when it's a racial thing. The emotion is about my parents," he said, stepping back to gather himself.

"For me it's a job. I'm enjoying the job and I enjoy the fact that as a team we come together and are working hard to get out of this adversity.

"When I think about my parents and the tough times they went through to be the people they are ... that's what I am, that's what I'm working to do with this team."

Lam said the success of his players, many who were Polynesian or Maori, couldn't be argued against. These included World Cup winners.

"I feel for all the guys in the team ... Keven Mealamu and his family and all the boys that have island backgrounds or Maori backgrounds. It's really offensive.

"When they win and when they suceed .. look at the All Blacks team that won the World Cup .. there's a lot of (island and Maori) guys there.

"I know that within this team we have a really good bunch of guys who are going through a really challenging time. But we are doing it together and when we come out of it we will be better people and a better team."

It has been a tough day for the Blues with skipper Mealamu opening up on the disappointment at the physical state star import Piri Weepu had turned up in after his shift north from the Hurricanes.

Weepu has been overweight and struggling to get a start in the Blues side. He has been named on the bench again in the team to play the Sharks that also features All Blacks lock Ali Williams being dropped to the bench.

Weepu also fronted the media today and admitted he had been guilty of getting caught up in the celebrations after the World Cup and losing his focus for this year's Super rugby.

He said the World Cup had been an eight year crusade for him, especially after the disappointment of missing the 2007 tournament.

"I enjoyed my time in my break. Obviously I'm a bit disappointed in that. But I'm not looking backwards any more. When I first got here I was a bit out of shape but I have made gains on that," Weepu said.

Weepu felt he still had the respect of his team mates.

"We are a solid team," he said.

Weepu expressed his shock at the racial taunts being levelled at his coach.

"I never really thought people would be like that towards Pat ... in terms of being racist and things like that. Pat's a great guy. It's not just Pat doing his job ... everyone else running out on the field has a responsibility. We know that Pat shoulders quite a bit of it and so does Kevvy but it is about us collectively staying together and pushing through it as a whole squad."

Lam has made several changes to the team that capitulated in Melbourne to lose to the Rebels last Thursday night.

Liaki Moli comes in to replace Williams. Dan Braid is fit again to reclaim his No 7 jersey alongside his flanker brother Luke and Chris Lowrey moves from blindside to No 8, taking over from Brad Mika.

In the backline Hadleigh Parkes wins the right wing berth from Lachie Munro.

Lam said he felt Williams had carried a big workload through the first phase of the season and would be more effective off the bench this weekend.

He maintained that under the current circumstances the bench was still the best place for Weepu.

BLUES: Rudi Wulf, Hadleigh Parkes, Benson Stanley, Ma'a Nonu, Rene Ranger, Gareth Anscombe, Alby Mathewson, Chris Lowrey, Daniel Braid, Luke Braid,  Filo Paulo, Liaki Moli, Charlie Faumuina, Keven Mealamu (c), Tony Woodcock. Reserves: Tom McCartney, Tevita Mailau, Ali Williams, Peter Saiili, Piri Weepu, Michael Hobbs, George Moala.

Fairfax Media