Editorials

The different faces of ‘Two Bermudas’

  • This is rugby. Players fight: rarely do scuffles on the rugby pitch ever amount to anything more than a case of “handbags” — a phrase derived from the imagery of old ladies having a fight at a bus stop

The term “Two Bermudas” has been bandied about over the years to the point of overuse. That is because it has come to mean all things to all people whenever the mood strikes — politics, education, immigration, religion, same-sex marriage, healthcare, the economy, sport.

Case in point the recent and borderline provocative photo-posting by a sports information website of a fracas in a rugby match that spilt over on to the touchline.

The photograph included a woman who appeared to be knocked over as a result, which had the desired effect, if you prescribe to the diktat that a picture tells a thousand words.

The only thing was that, good though the photo was, 999 of the words elicited were wrong, as not only did the still frame not reflect accurately what had happened where it pertained to the woman — a click-through to read the “report” left you similarly none the wiser — but it drew a reaction that called into question the media’s supposed double standards when reporting on flashpoint incidents in sport.

“If this was cricket ... If this was football ...”

Both supposedly black Bermudian sports as opposed to rugby union, which is viewed as the domain of whites and expatriates.

“Two Bermudas”.

First, to the fracas, which was depicted as a brawl.

This is rugby. Players fight.

But rarely does it ever amount to anything more than a case of “handbags” — the phrase derived from imagery of old ladies having a handbag fight at a bus stop.

Nothing to see here. Get on with the game.

For sporting comparison, rugby is in good company with baseball, American football and, particularly, ice hockey as sports where the occasional pugilism is seen as an occupational hazard.

It could be argued quite convincingly that the National Hockey League, before the influx of fast-skating, puck-handling Europeans at the turn of the millennium, historically placed a premium on recruiting players with toughness and fighting ability.

To conflate a commonplace occurrence with isolated incidents of on or off-pitch violence at cricket and football matches — note that off-field incidents in all sport are equally newsworthy — is simplistic and more than a little naughty.

Second, on to the “injured” woman.

She was actually the on-field medic, not a member of the crowd at the Duckett Memorial, and was unhurt after a tumble that looked far worse in that still image than it did in real time.

Medics in rugby are positioned just outside the field of play and very often are on-field tending to an injury while play is under way.

They just get on with it the game and don’t halt play unless the action brings the bulk of the remaining 29 players on field in the vicinity of the injured player being treated.

Our reporter at the match, ironically featuring several policemen, verified this opinion by saying there really was nothing to see, let alone to turn into a sport or news lede as a result of the moment of fisticuffs.

So, we depart this barefaced act of provocation to flip the script to uncover a development far closer to home — the admittedly unscientific poll on our website.

At the turn of the year, we asked readers to vote on the most effective politician of 2019, providing eight options.

The breakdown was four from each political party; and five black, three white to best reflect the racial make-up of the electorate.

With respondents approaching 7,500 last night — the most successful poll of this sort since the report card on the Progressive Labour Party’s first 100 days in government, which ran for 29 days in November 2017 — the front-runners were an unelected senator, a former premier who has suffered the ignominy of leading two different parties to heavy General Election defeats, and a government MP whose name has been unapologetically synonymous with scandal.

The common denominator for those who are optically woke? They are all white.

“Two Bermudas”.