I always find it strange when a coach bans a player from talking to the media. I guess it all comes down to perspective…
From a clubs point of view a media ban is a sign of strength. They call the shots. They will say who can and can not talk to the media. Media bans are normally a way for a club to avoid further controversy or a way to shield a player from the spotlight.
From an outsiders point of view it looks like a case of mistrust in a player.
Minutes after 18 year old Newcastle Knights sensation Sione Mata’utia had walked off the field, completing a hat-trick in his clubs win over the New Zealand Warriors, the Knights slapped a media ban on him.
If they wanted to shield their youngster from the spotlight, it’s a little too late! The Knights supporter base hasn’t had much to cheer about this year. It has been a season from hell. When they saw Sione Mata’utia scoring a hat-trick they finally felt like there was a bright moment in a season they’d rather forget.
That spotlight isn’t going to fade away. Like all NRL players, it will be there until such point as he retires.
As soon as Sione Mata’utia left the Knights sheds and headed home, he knew he was the central figure in the Knights win. It’s not like players live in a bubble, it’s not as though the club can “protect” them. Hell I bet when he got hold on his phone it went off with people texting him, congratulating him, tweets, Facebook…all of that!
Players these days grow up in the media spotlight. That isn’t going to change because some football club thinks a media ban is a good idea!
So instead of giving a young bloke a few minutes to talk to the media and then get on with things, now the Knights have shown they don’t trust their best young prospect to handle himself in the big time.
That isn’t a good thing…
I have no doubt Sione Mata’utia would have handled himself well with the media, I have no doubt he would have enjoyed the moment and then got on with backing up next week. For a young man that is already being talked about as a future Knights captain, the club should have shown more faith in his ability to handle the spotlight.
In any case, you have to wonder what a football club is doing throwing young players into first grade if they don’t feel as though they are ready to handle all of the responsibilities a first grade footballer has to carry. One of those being the spotlight that comes when you tear an opposition team to shreds.
Hopefully next week Sione Mata’utia gets to talk to the media about another outstanding performance.
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