Matthew Ridge said today he would reconsider his appearances on A Game of Two Halves knowing what he now knows about Tony Veitch.
I am pleased that Matthew Ridge has publicly condemned Veitch’s behaviour. It was a bit of a surprise because on the surface I wouldn’t have expected a man such as Ridge with the public persona of a larrikin and loud-mouth to be so forthright in coming forward. It is proof of the widespread condemnation of Tony Veitch’s actions. Good on you Matthew.
I’m trying to work out who actually was ever a fan of Tony Veitch. I asked around at work.
The young guys in their mid to late twenties all said they couldn’t stand him. “Bloody loud-mouth”, “up himself wanker” I think were the terms used.
Some of the women at work (same age as the guys) didn’t even know who he was…
Then there’s me. OK, so I admit it – before this event I thought he was bloody good. He had energy. I thought his sports reading on TV One was vibrant – he made me want to pay attention. And the on-screen energy between him and Bernadine Oliver-Kirby was very relaxed. They appeared to be good friends. Compare them to Simon Dallow and Wendy Petrie and you’ll soon see what I mean.
He’s now lost his accreditation to the Olympic Games on behalf of TVNZ. I can’t see how they can keep him on as a presenter even after the games. Radio is looking a little more hopeful, perhaps because we don’t have to look at him. Visual cues are so much more powerful than audible ones.
Back at the end of 2007 there was a story that appeared in the NZ Herald about stars and celebrities getting off with lighter sentences than the general public in similar circumstances. The story related to Brent Todd:
“…within days of sentencing, the news was out: the 43-year-old had been seen lounging in the sun and lifting weights at best pal Matthew Ridge’s home, where he is serving his sentence.”
And a little later in the article:
Preventing Violence in the Home executive director Jane Drumm believes celebrities – particularly sports stars – often receive an easy run when they fall foul of the law.
“With the glory of being a famous person, you also should have the some sense of responsibility to be a role model, because that’s what you are being put up as.”
Ms Drumm says when celebrities seem to get away with violent behaviour – whether against a wife or partner, or a stranger in a bar – it tends to trivialise the offending.
“I think that regardless of who you are, everyone should have the same access to the law.”
Women’s Refuge chief executive Heather Henare agrees celebrities have long appeared to get lenient treatment from the courts, and wants some “fairness across the board”.
“Each person should be treated on the merits of their case, as opposed to who they are.”
Tony Veitch is now under investigation by the police. He may well face court proceedings. He has been publicly humiliated. He’s probably lost his income (rumoured to be $600K a year across the three positions).
Violence just doesn’t pay.