In the fallout of Saturday’s RLWC final clash between England and Australia, one of the main talking points from a media point of view seems to be that of James Graham.
During the match, he appeared to have been caught saying “cheating c***” to Australian schemer Cooper Cronk, an incident which saw BBC Sport’s rugby league correspondent Dave Woods issuing an apology during his commentary. However, the former St Helens prop and holder of the most England caps didn’t reciprocate.
‘Loads of stuff gets said on the field,’ Graham said. ‘If you don’t like it, turn off the ref’s mic. That’s real life, real emotion out there. Stuff gets said all the time.” In a refreshing display of not apologising for the way things are, Graham has highlighted here one of the potential issues of having such close coverage on the pitch where, especially on Saturday, emotions are high and the contest is brutal – industrial language is used on every sports pitch around the world with many expletives being picked up on camera and by keen lip readers amongst us. Are we bothered? No, it happens.
Displaying typical bullishness and a nasty streak which makes him the rugby league great that he is, Graham went on. “If you want a fake reality and everybody patting each other on the back – it is what it is. It’s just a game, I don’t even remember what I said, and I shouldn’t have to either. That’s real – I should not have to remember what I said or apologise to anyone and I won’t. It’s just part of the game, people say stuff. What’s done is done.”
Quite rightly so – the point of having such close audio and video coverage of the sport is to give the viewers at home the most authentic experience of the sport and the feeling on the pitch so things like this will always happen. Rugby league is a sport where people go hammer and tong at each other – what sort of language would you expect?