That phrase is not likely to ever make it onto the Top 10 List of the World’s Greatest Oxymorons anytime soon.
Fiery half-time speeches, intense scowls, sideline histrionics and bitter post-game tirades are as much a part of the coaching profession as are allegations of improper off-field behaviour on the parts of players, or boorish behaviour by adult-beverage fueled fans.
Michael Cheika has a history of expressing himself intensely when things do not go his way. Were he a professional tennis player, he might be suspended and ordered to undergo psychological counseling to more properly channel his rage, but he is a rugby coach.
He is expected to be upset when his side is blatantly robbed in England by a Kiwi referee.
We in the profession, or more properly, perhaps, trade, of reporting on the antics of various games involving adult men and women, thrive on news such as Cheika’s outburst at Twickenham, where he appeared to say “f…ing cheats when his Wallabies were robbed by close calls that could have went either way.
OF course, it must be acknowledged that if the same events had unfolded in Sydney or Brisbane, there could have conceivably been a drop of one in the population of New Zealand.
The latest controversy to embroil Cheika is a continuation of a pattern.
He has a reputation for spitting sparks. He was given a suspended six-month ban for an incident in Super Rugby that took place in South Africa when he was coaching the Waratahs against the Sharks.
On that occasion, Sanzaar judicial officer Nigel Hampton did not buy Cheika’s argument that Cheika’s use of foul and abusive language towards those running the match represented, “A propensity of Mr. Cheika to behave in this manner is disturbing,” Hampton said in a statement.
Is there a movement afoot to remove passion from sports? Cheika is basically harmless and until he resorts to actual physical violence, he is simply expressing what many of us feel when there seems to be a conspiracy to tilt the odds in the wrong direction.