Sonny Bill Williams, his medal and two views of the story

Sonny Bill Williams became the New Zealand national pride when he gave away his medal just after the Rugby World Cup 2015 to a young fan who was tackled when approaching him on the field.

His gestures have been widely praised by the media, placing him the third most-talked about player alongside Richie McCaw and Dan Carter. He was said to be ‘generous’, ‘man with a big heart’, ‘a good man’, and etc.

Interestingly enough, someone had a more critical look at the event and implied there was more to the positively-perceived good gesture, therefore SBW’s gesture betrays fans and teammates.

The author opened the article by exclaiming:

What a strange thing it was that Sonny Bill Williams did.

How is this definitively a ‘strange thing’, he doesn’t elaborate. Nevertheless, SBW had already said – which I think perfectly explained why he did what he did.

“If that was a younger brother or cousin I would have given the security guard a hiding you know. But I just picked the kid up and took him back to his old lady and tried to make the night more memorable for him.

“I think the moment got the better of him but he was just so excited to get onto the field with the All Blacks. I just thought I’d make it a night to remember for him.

“Rather than have the medal hanging up at home, it’s going to hanging around that young fella’s neck. He can tell that story for a long time to come.”

The author went on and said:

The kid was not hurt and probably not surprised to be tackled.

Effortlessly, he expressed no sympathy for this brave kid. (My sentence does kind of make sense right there.) In fact, he suggested SBW’s gesture could not be justified because Charlie Line was an abled kid.

If this boy was tragically disabled or had suffered some heart-rending misfortune I could understand an All Black being so moved as to give him something as precious as a World Cup winners’ medal.”

He also “wondered what his teammates thought”, and this is what his teammates thought: All Blacks praise generous Sonny Bill Williams.

  • Steve Hansen: “…. a remarkable man…”
  • Keven Mealamu : “… he’s got a big heart…”
  • Sam Cane: “… material things, in the most respectful terms, don’t mean a lot to him. He’s a lot about memories…. He’s got a massive heart, extremely generous…”

Then, the author boldly suggested:

But to give it away for no reason at all suggests he really didn’t want it. Strange.

and:

it is fairly unusual to give it away a moment after it has been draped around their neck. Insulting too. His teammates might never say whether they found it insulting but as a fan, I did.

Again, SBW gave it to a kid who had just got tackled seconds ago. A kid. Who was tackled. He felt bad. Therefore, he wanted to make it up for the kid. Simple to understand as that. The medal is his and he can do anything he wants with this, plus this is to make someone’s day better. Why is this even close to insulting?

The laughing continues as I read:

It felt like a betrayal of our enthusiasm for their achievement and the exquisite agony of those early mornings on the couch.

I don’t know whether I’m more disappointed in Williams or the many who see it as an utterly admirable act of generosity.

Hey John, the world doesn’t spin around your couch.

When Williams didn’t show up for the All Blacks’ victory parade in 2011, I thought I would never forgive him. But the way he fitted in this time, cheerfully acknowledging his fellow midfielders, clearly popular in the team and injecting his own special dimension to the game whenever he got on, I thought I could forgive him anything.

Hey again John, SBW doesn’t care whether you forgive him or if you ever make up your mind to do so or not. Life goes on.

I’m glad John wrapped it up in a less rough note #badpun:

It is hard to know why he does what he does, or what he will do next. He pleases himself.

Because, not long after, SBW does just that. Being who he is, doing the things he pleases himself, and he gave away his cap and sunglasses to another lucky kid – NZ Herald reported.

We hope this time Adidas doesn’t mind.

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