- Saturday night old Springbok player Ashwin Willemse walked off a live TV broadcast, obviously upset
- The reason for Willemse's walk-off was obscure at the time, but it is now known that Willemse felt he was being patronised by Nick Mallet
- Willemse, Mallet and Botha will still be working together and there is peace between the three
Ashwin Willemse caused quite a stir on Saturday night when he walked off a live broadcast after a slight outburst.
Willemse said that he had been called a "quota player" for a long time and that he did not want to be "patronised by two individuals who played during the apartheid era".
He added that he could not "work with people who undermine other people" and he was "glad it happened on live TV so people can see" and then he walked away.
Social media has been set alight since the incident and people have been speculating about what could have caused Willemse's reaction:
Not everyone agreed with Willemse's actions:
Many people support Willemse.
Here is a clip of the incident, as shared by Jonathan Levin on Twitter:
Many people did not hesitate to "play the race card". Mallet and Botha was accused of being racists, though there was no evidence to back this claim.
Minister of Sport, Tokozile Xasa, also called the incident a show of "white entitlement", effectively throwing oil onto the already heated debate. The Minister demanded that Mallet and Botha be suspended while an investigation was conducted into the matter.
According to media reports the relationship between Willemse and Mallet has been under strain for some time now.
An inside source shed some light on what happened on Saturday. While off-air, Mallet asked the television producer to give Willemse the chance to speak first after the Lions vs. Brumbies game in Johannesburg.
Willemse didn't get to speak after the earlier match of the Sharks vs the Chiefs and Mallet thought Willemse should get his chance after the Sharks-Brumbies game.
But according to the source Willemse took this request by Mallet as patronising and his feelings on this led to the outburst South Africa witnessed on television.
According to other reports there has been bad vibes between Mallet and Willemse for for years.
It was virtually impossible to work with Ashwin in the last while. Often he would not even pitch up for work commitments and functions. He would confirm for a match only to pull out 10 minutes beforehand. He and Nick hardly talked to each other. Nick is however no saint. But I do feel sorry for Naas because I don’t think he has anything to do with it.
They were very hostile towards each other. Ashwin has never done much preparation. Nick and Naas would do the hard work when it comes to preparation. They would identify and edit video clips which Ashwin would then discuss on the touch screen. He (Willemse) then gets all the credit.
One of Willemse's friends defended his actions.
Everyone talks about Botha and Mallett who make derogatory remarks about black and coloured players. They say just what they want and get away with it. Just think about it... now you’re standing there like Ashwin... I just think he got fed-up,.
Apparently Mallet was quite the jokester off-air and liked playing jokes. He played some jokes on Willemse as well.
For example, Nick once burst a packet of chips behind Willemse. Nick was making a joke, but Ashwin didn’t see it that way.
People who work with the trio stated that there was never any racial undertones during these jokes.
Supersport will be investigating the incident, according to a statement made by the pay-channel.
SuperSport is aware of the on-air incident and is looking into the matter. SuperSport views this incident in a serious light - we will conduct a full investigation and interview all relevant individuals.
A meeting was held on Monday between Willemse, Mallet and Botha. According to MultiChoice South Africa's chief executive Calvo Mawela the meeting went well.
They were courteous to each other, they shook hands, they openly chatted.
So, there’s no animosity that exists between the three of them – from what we have seen today. They kept on talking to each other like mature people, and that we think is a positive step in terms of the engagement that we are having.
But we have not come to any conclusions at this stage. We all agreed that we will continue the engagements going forward. We can’t say when it will be concluded.
From the observation of today’s discussions, there is no racism that we picked up from any of the discussions that we have had.
As far as we are concerned, it’s people who got into some discussions of some sort, and we are still digging deeper to find out what really happened and led to this type of action, because nobody walks off stage just for the sake of walking off stage.
There must be something deeper, and we are engaging with all parties to get to the bottom of this.
For now it is said that no job is on the line until the investigation has been finished.
Mallet also made a statement to the media:
I appreciated the opportunity to air my views. Clearly there are issues that must be grappled with. I am more than happy to collaborate and contribute to resolving this matter.
This was a first meeting and we all had our say, which was helpful. We’ve invested in a process to resolve matters and I’m confident that we will get a satisfactory resolution.
According to reports the trio will be on our screens next Saturday - together.
Watch the funny Animated Joke: Lady In a Groceries Shop and other videos on Briefly South Africa's YouTube channel.
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