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Tim Powers

Rugby does not kill Add to ...

This story has gotten much coverage over the last while. It is the headline that comes with this tragic tale that always drives me batty. More often than not, Manny Castillo's tragic loss of life is described as a "rugby death" as is the case here by many in the mainstream media. While it is true Manny Castillo died on a rugby field he did not die because of rugby. He was killed in a senseless act of violence committed by a person not a sport. An act described in this report as a "pile-driver," which is totally illegal in rugby and would have merited the player being kicked off the field, and suspended, had it occurred during the regular course of play. But as described in the story the heinous act of violence happened "as the game ended."

Falsely implying this young man died because of rugby is not going to bring Manny back. While my heart goes out to the Castillo family for their unspeakable loss of a son, having certain news media suggest that rugby is somehow unduly violent by constantly playing a game of word association between rugby and death is odious. Trying to undermine a game played by millions of people around the world which provides an outlet for healthy physical activity serves no constructive purpose. "Rugby made me do it" might read well, attract attention and sell a few papers but it casts a needless pale over a variety of competitive sports that have helped positively shape the character of many Canadians.

Having read what I have about Manny Castillo I am not sure his memory would be well-served by careless public characterizations of the pursuits that made him happy.

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