Rugby Canada Updates – July 2021

Another One Bites the Dust: Jamie Cudmore Fired Over Tweets

The list continues to grow. Damian McGrath dismissed because he supported the men’s 7s team strike. John Tait fired because he pushed the women’s 7 team too hard and was accused of bullying and abuse. Now Jamie Cudmore shot himself in the foot, with anger built up over the way his friend, John Tait, was treated by Rugby Canada and the women’s 7s team.

Cudmore inadvisably hit back with four tweets over 12 minutes that sealed his fate. The women’s 7s team and their PR machine had screen captured those tweets within minutes and pasted it all over social media. It was game over for Jamie. He removed the tweets and apologized but it wouldn’t satisfy those baying for blood. Rugby Canada announced his termination the next morning. 12 minutes of madness, late in the evening, probably fueled by adult beverages is all it takes to ruin your career. A lesson to be learned, a word to the wise.

There will be mixed feelings in the rugby community, those that knew John Tait are still simmering over the way he was treated by Rugby Canada and pushed out of the way by the women’s 7s team. Jamie Cudmore’s angry tweets were likely the thoughts in more than a few minds last evening, although most would have the common sense to keep them locked inside their mind behind that important speech filter.

Let’s take a look at the tweets and see what got Jamie in trouble.

LFG China – this looks like a tweet of support for China in the match versus Japan. Canada had already lost to France 31-0 and the remote possibility that Canada could be knocked out of the quarter-finals by a large Chinese victory became apparent. It was probably late in the match. If you’re a national team coach you have to publicly cheer for your country’s team, even if privately you think they are a virtue signalling machine that destroyed your friend’s career. Strike One.

Karma is a bitch! #survivorsmyass – never a good idea to take the name of Karma in vain, but yes, people were thinking this, thinking some sort of karmic action would manifest itself in the tournament. The #survivorsmyass hashtag seems to be a hit at the women’s 7s team taking ownership of the “survivors of abuse” mantle in the way they were treated by coach John Tait. It should be noted here that Tait was cleared of those allegations by a independent investigator. Regardless, when you’re a national team coach, you can’t be saying these things in this way. Strike Two.

I think someone could decolonize 9th place tomorrow – Obviously a snipe at the women finishing out of the quarter-finals. An attempt at humour no doubt but it fell flat, it was likely making fun of what Cudmore would have thought was virtue signalling by the women’s 7s team in their use of the phrase “decolonize our space”. This was a double whammy, you can’t use the word decolonize in a perjorative way and come out standing. Also you can’t be showing a lack of support for a national team when you’re a national team coach, no matter how angry you are with them. Strike Three!

There were only 3 legible tweets over those 12 minutes and that’s all it took, sad really. I like Jamie Cudmore, he’s an honest, outspoken person, rare at the national level. Too honest it turns out. He made a 12 minute error in judgement, he’s been supportive of women’s rugby and Indigenous rugby, he just doesn’t like the women’s 7s team because they hurt his friend, simple as that.

It’s another top Canadian coach lost to the national system and that’s what makes me sad.

[ed. more information on this article by Patrick Johnston in the National Post.]

Posted in Editorials.