Ryan Bridge: Top sportspeople don't need to be saints

Opinion 10/07/2019

Driving to work this morning I heard an academic talking about a lack of morals in our sportsmen.

They said the All Blacks should take a leaf out of provincial rugby's book - in order to play sport, you have to be a saint, a good man makes a good player. 

Well, I say nay. A good player makes a good player.

Isn't sport supposed to be about winning, especially at the top level? 

How would you like it if our Olympians lost all the time but were really lovely, really nice? I wouldn't like that at all. 

Competition is a cornerstone of human evolution.

Not just in sport - competition for finite resources on this planet, competition between species, competition between and within societies has been credited with some of the greatest leaps in human advancement known to man. 

Take philosophy for example. The Greeks have a rich history here, but it only really came about once they began trading with the outside world and having their ideas challenged. Thought and sport conducted in a silo with no need for challenge or competition, minus best players or competitors, is a recipe for inertia. 

So to the All Blacks, to all sports, I say: pick the best man for the job.

Ryan Bridge is co-host of The AM Show.