Oxford University's under-21 rugby squad is being sent on a cultural diversity course after a row over racism and antisemitism.Well, that’s bound to improve things! But what are they supposed to have done to deserve this?
Three weeks ago pictures emerged of team members "blacked up" and wearing loincloths for an African-themed party named the Safari Bop.This is it…? This is the smoking gun? A fancy dress party? Please!
A week earlier, one of the players had invited students to the squad's "bring a fit Jew party". Students are alleged to have been told to invite a pretty Jewish date and arrive dressed as Orthodox Jews carrying bags of money.Tasteless, yes. Juvenile, certainly. But any worse than what Sacha Baron Cohen is paid handsomely for? Nope.
Oxford University Student Union had asked the organisers to change the theme, but some players ignored this and held the party at an Indian restaurant. At least one student is said to have worn pretend sidelocks. Sidelocks are worn by Orthodox Jewish men.
The captain of the under-21 team, Phil Boon, said at the time he did not see what the problem was. He said Jewish girls had accepted invitations to the party. "I can understand why it might have offended some people, but it would have been an awesome social."He’s obviously operating on Stephen Fry’s ‘You’re offended? So f****g what?’ principle. Sadly, that’s no longer the case in modern Britain. Now, offended people hold all the cards, and hurt feelings are worth more than hurt bodies.
The university said the proctors - internal officers charged with keeping discipline among students - had investigated. "They are satisfied there were no breaches of university regulations," it said. "They have concluded that initial reports about what was planned and what actually happened were exaggerated."You mean, the grievance-mongers might not have been wholly truthful? Say it ain’t so!
Wes Streeting, president of the National Union of Students, said: "The individuals must realise the mistakes they have made and the great offence they have caused."Must they…? According to whom? You?