"If I can't have tough conversations with my better players I might as well coach netball."
That was the comment made by NRL coach Ricky Stuart last week, as reported by Daily Telegraph's Paul Kent, that has triggered a swirl of criticism for its condescending and 'outdated' nature.
“It’s 2021 and comments like this are still getting said about women in general and there’s no need for it,” NSW Swifts star Sophie Garbin said, responding to Stuart's comments, according to 7News.
“The fact that he said it is one [thing] but the fact that no one pulled him up about it in the moment is even worse.
“Netball deserves respect. We’ve got over a million girls playing and to get to the top level is really tough... People get dropped from teams, get put in teams, there’s lots of ups and downs in netball and I think people need to come to a game to see how tough it really is.”
Netball Australia chair Marina Go echoed these comments, saying: “I’ve met Ricky Stuart and I’d like to think that on reflection he would be embarrassed by that comment because this is a really tough sport for women played at an elite level with extraordinary athletes."
Sports commentator and former Australian Netball player Liz Ellis also expressed disappointment in the comment, tweeting: "Stop making netball a euphemism for 'not tough'. If you are still doing that in 2021 you might need get out to a game to do some fact-checking."
Haha. Nope Paul Kent if you can’t have a tough conversation with your players then you may as well not be coaching. Full stop.— Liz Ellis (@LizzyLegsEllis) May 12, 2021
Stop making netball a euphemism for “not tough”. If you are still doing that in 2021 you might need get out to a game to do some fact checking. https://t.co/1heN58pqC1