Mitch Harris: Whatever happened to the humble, fair-minded Kiwi?

Are Kiwis losing their humility and becoming unsporting, bad winners after the America's Cup and Lions Tour?
Peter Burling of Team New Zealand celebrates the 2017 win Photo credit: Getty

OPINION: Ever since the Lions began their tour of New Zealand, they have been mercilessly bagged by this country's sports writers.

It's as if it is a crime not to try and play like the All Blacks. Never mind that this is the most competitive Lions team we have seen in decades.

After that first game against the Barbarians, they've been savaged. They had just jumped off a flight from the UK and hardly had time to practise together; yet the immediate pronouncement was that the rest of the tour would be a humiliating whitewash.

Yes, we can hand it out, but God do we go all sookie bubba if anyone dares to say something mean about our All Black gods.

Following the first Test, there was this nonsense from Gregor Paul in the NZ Herald: "Implying that the All Blacks set out to deliberately injury (sic) Lions halfback Conor Murray... it is here that tolerance ends.

"Implying the All Blacks are dirty is the unforgivable sin. Questioning their playing ethics and morals is a line that can't be crossed. That can't be taken back and it can't be easily forgiven."

Oh boo hoo. They are always saying the All Blacks cheat in the Northern Hemisphere.

Here's some devastating news Gregor: They think the supreme being, Richie McCaw, is the biggest cheat of them all.

As the All Blacks keep reminding us, they play to the edge of the rules - and the Lions do as well. There is a lot of gamesmanship in rugby, on and off the field, so talking about "unforgivable sin" and questioning playing ethics and morals of the All Blacks as "a line that can't be crossed" sounds more like what you would hear from a mosque in Islamabad.

And now, our fabulous America's Cup win. It was a brilliant series and as that former captain who always showed humility in victory would say - full credit to Team New Zealand.

So what did Grant Dalton have to say? He bagged Dean Barker, he bagged Jimmy Spithill and he bagged Russell Coutts.


Full credit to Jimmy Spithill who was gracious in defeat.

Mitch Harris is host of RadioLIVE's Night Talk.