Mark Richardson has hit out at criticism over a question that made Silver Ferns captain Katrina Grant break down in tears, saying sport is becoming too politically correct.
Journalist and former-Silver Fern Jenny-May Clarkson interviewed Grant following the team's loss to England at the Commonwealth Games on Wednesday - but her question line is facing heavy backlash online.
"A lot of people back home are saying that there doesn't seem to be any pride in the black dress," Ms Clarkson said to Grant.
"I'm sure you girls have had some long talks about what all of his means and of course you know in terms of the results, they haven't been quite what you wanted."
Grant then covered her face and started to cry.
"That's hard," she said.
"Of course we have pride in this black dress. I mean, it means a lot to every single one of us.
"We were little kids, little young girls growing up playing netball and this is all we wanted. So there's a lot of pride in this black dress. That's hard to take."
On Thursday's The AM Show, Richardson said that was a fair enough question.
"These people complaining about that question - do they want equality? If this was the All Blacks losing, I would want them absolutely roasted. So do we have equality in our sport or not?
"They're not out of the competition. They're through to the semi-finals. If they topple Australia, it will be one of the great comebacks and we'll celebrate that and rightly so.
"And it gave her an opportunity to prove that pride, and start to win fans back.
"For these people to complain about this question - do they like censorship, do they? They don't like freedom of speech? They don't like journalists holding the big guy to account? Is that what they're saying?"
Richardson even suggested Ms Clarkson should have taken a harder approach.
"It probably shouldn't have been asked in such a flowery way. It simply should have been said: 'Have you still got pride in the black [dress]?'"
He's not the first to defend Ms Clarkson amid a barrage of criticism.
"Legit question," one Twitter user said.
"Asked what many in NZ want to know (i.e. doing her job). Silver Ferns have fallen off a precipice. Other NZ teams get crucified for far less."
Another said Grant had to expect to be held accountable.
"They are a high performance team that have performed below expectation and you have to expect that there will be tough questions asked."
But many suggested it was the timing which made the question "unacceptable".
"This is sport, and whilst the team may not be as good as previous NZ teams, there is no reason to be so aggressive about it."
"Entirely inappropriate," another viewer said.
"In sports there are days you win and days you lose. Life is no different. Lose has its many benefits as well. Be proud."
The Silver Ferns have secured a spot in the semifinals.