Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Even in These Sorry Times, Lions Should Have Ignored the 'Outrage'

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Even in These Sorry Times, Lions Should Have Ignored the 'Outrage'

Article excerpt

Byline: Dan Jones

BEFORE we begin, and in the name of not getting a brick through my office window from some animal rights crackpot, let me say this: I don't think there's anything ribticklingly funny about a picture of a springbok getting its scrotal sac impaled on an iron railing.

With the possible exception of all estate agents, I don't condone stringing up any of God's creatures on fences by their balls. I don't think you should do it. I don't think you should encourage other people to do it. It's not nice. Okay. Thank you.

Now, let me also say this. There are plenty of people who would -- and do -- find that sort of thing funny. This is one of the main things that the internet has taught us. The lowest denomination of humour is the pratfall, and if that pratfall involves a) an animal b) a pair of damaged testes, we're practically into zinger territory.

Now, imagine if you actually had a picture of a springbok impaled on an iron railing by its scrotal sac. Then imagine if you were also the not very bright administrator of the Lions' Twitter feed. Then imagine you saw an opportunity to parlay a pratfall into a sporting metaphor: an image illustrating the Lions' 28-9 victory in their final match against South Africa last time out. What would you do? Simples! You would post the picture of the poor impaled beast on Twitter, along with a fairly feeble line of 'banter', reading: 'Isn't this what @lionsofficial did to Springboks in the 3rd Test in Johannesburg 2009? @qantaswallabies be warned.' And then you would sit back and watch as your humorous work provoked one of those tiresome modern brouhahas, brought about because someone, somewhere, Took Offence.

That, of course, is exactly what happened this week. A picture went up, then it went down, then a craven expression of remorse was transmitted, reading '@lionsofficial would like to apologise for any offence caused by recent and inappropriate tweets.' That's tweets -- plural -- you'll notice, since apparently there was also something else posted by @lionsofficial around the time of the Lions squad selection announcement, which wondered aloud if players up for the tour might be feeling 'excited, nervous -- suicidal? …

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