Adam Cooper: Heavy handed security hitting streakers too hard

Author
Adam Cooper ,
Section
Opinion,
Publish Date
Tuesday, 31 January 2017, 11:04AM

Aside from the deserved standing ovations for Australian all-rounder Marcus Stoinis, and cheers of relief for Kane Williamson's match-winning run-out, the loudest shouts of the day from the crowd at Eden Park in the Chappell-Hadlee series opener came when a brave, pasty streaker dashed from one side of Eden Park to the other.

The fate of any streaker is generally the same - they'll run around a bit, maybe dodge a sercurity guard or two, ignite a bit of entertainment for the crowd, but end up being taken to the floor and escorted off with a towel wrapped around the R18 visuals.

This is of course aside from one lucky - or unlucky - soul at the Basin Reserve about 10 years ago, who managed to dart away from the bank, sidestep a guard, successfully clear the boundary fence and make it down the groundsman's driveway out of the ground. The infamous tale around the capital though ends in not so fine style, when he was hit by a car while trying to escape across the busy State Highway 1.

Yes, Monday's streaker provided some entertainment for the Auckland crowd, at a time when the match was equally as compelling. But, on the other side of the spectrum, we all must appreciate the actions disrupt the flow of the game, and cause a strange stall in the lucrative TV product.

I'm all for a field intruder to be escorted from the field as quickly as possible, given their relevant fine and ban where appropriate, and move on.

But what's irking me is the constant mongrel-like behaviour from some security staff, who seem to value lining up the intruder and carrying out a heavy tackle, ahead of simply getting the person off the field.

The Eden Park incident was no different. With the crowd behind him, the spirited streaker managed to pull off a half-hearted sidestep, which was enough to dodge the slow guard lining him up.

We all know what happened - the guy got to the side of the field, and then came to a grinding halt when tripping over the advertising signs and skidding along the concrete. This should've been game over to get the man out the back - but no, the security guard who missed the tackle seemed to find the need to slam on top of him in some sort of act of revenge.

It was something that clearly didn't need to happen, and something that's coming all too familiar. I remember this ugly incident in Wellington where a female made it to the middle of Westpac Stadium, only to be completely nailed by a guard, who could have easily just grabbed her and started escorting her off the field. 

So a plea to security staff who seem to get big heads just because they enforce the rules at our wonderful sports stadiums and events - nobody admires the big hits.

Don't let your desire for glory and making assault-like tackles get in the way of doing your number one job - protecting players and crowds.