South Africa's rugby race row claims another scalp

Johannesburg- South Africa (PANA) -- Just few days after two locks were excluded from the South African rugby World Cup squad for their part in a race row, the Springbok media officer Mark Keohane resigned saying he wants no part in a cover up.
Amid the confusion around the exoneration of Geo Cronje who was accused of racism after he allegedly refused to share a room or bathroom with black player Quinton Davids, Sabc reported Tuesday that a top Keohane resigned.
Keohane said he had been unfairly accused of leaking the racism story to the media and was disgusted by the allegations.
He said he was disappointed that his loyalty had been called into question.
He, however, defended the manner in which the matter was handled saying the Springbok media team had acted correctly.
The Sabc report further suggested that the resignation was a protest to a "cover up" around the race row that rocked the Springboks last weekend.
John Robbie, an outspoken radio personality, said the findings by a Sarfu investigation that there was insufficient evidence of racism was hard to believe.
He made the remarks on Talk Radio 702 as an obvious attempt to defend the media who have come under heavy criticism for the Cronje debacle.
Most newspaper reported that the bearded Cronje had been booted out of the Springbok camp for displaying racist tendencies against Davids.
A two-man inquiry led by former Springbok scrumhalf Christo Ferreira, called after the story had made headlines, found that there was not enough evidence to convict Cronje.
However, Cronje and Davids were left our of the 30-man World Cup team that was announced on Saturday.
South Africans are in a dichotomy over the move, which is likely to cost both men about R500,000 each in lost earnings.
Although Davids has since apologized to Cronje, the scandal has remained in the spotlight with calls for the resignation of SA Rugby Managing Director Rian Oberholzer.
Oberholzer was lambasted in the press by irate fans and political parties for over reacting when he withdrew the player from the camp before the inquiry was carried out.
But, Keohane whose sudden resignation will add to the controversy around the team said he was satisfied with the manner in which Oberholzer handled the matter.
South African rugby has struggled with race representation in the sport and selection has been mindful of this uncomfortable fact.
The latest saga has further widened divisions among blacks and whites over support for the sport.

02 september 2003 12:26:00

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