Monday, February 27, 2006

Sticking Up For Gavin Henson?

My belief in free speech has caused me to stick up for some pretty unpleasant individuals recently - David Irving, the Danish cartoonists, and even Ken Livingstone. None of these surprise me quite as much as what I am about to say - well done Gavin Henson.

I've been quick to criticise Henson in the past. Using words such as overhyped, arrogant, and fart. And, I think, with some justification.

But fairness demands I credit him where he deserves it. And today, in sticking his hand up and taking responsibility for the loss against Ireland, he most certainly deserves credit. Sure, the Wales camp has been dealing with some pretty strong problems in the last few weeks, and having a scapegoat will probably help defend against the vultures in a small way.

It's rare, however, to see a sportsman stand up and say in such frank terms that he wasn't up to the job on a particular day - and even to go further, to argue that he should be dropped for his lack of performance. When most of the time, a professional sportsman responds to a loss by saying things like "there's a lot of positives we can take from today", it's nice to see someone realise what sport is about. Winning and losing. And caring down to your core about which one of those happens.