Rugby’s ‘banter king’ James Haskell has got himself into some hot water with members of the online rugby community, after starting a beef with England women’s international Simi Pam.
Pam had replied to an Instagram post from James Haskell’s The Good, The Bad & The Rugby podcast, which listed England men’s five most capped front row forwards.
However, the post failed to mention that it was exclusively male players they were listing (it has since been amended), to which Pam replied:
“I think you meant to say “most England caps - MALE front row forwards”. Please stop disrespecting the women like this. Because they [sic] way you’ve named this list, we know Rocky Clark tops it. Please do better @goodbadrugby.”
James Haskell, not wanting to ease the tension, instead added fuel to the fire by telling Pam to ‘have a day off’. A commented which he soon deleted.
Pam wrote back, “As someone who has been a guest on your spin off show @goodscazrugby, hearing that this is how you respond to being corrected for a mistake is very telling. I won’t have a day off - why don’t you just do better and stop disrespecting your female fan base and their role models?”
As the interaction continued to gain traction online, fans and pundits alike began to hit back at Haskell for what they saw as disrespectful behaviour.
Popular online analyst Squidge Rugby called out Haskell for claiming that he had done “more for the growth of the women’s game than anyone”, which Haskell had said in reference to his spin-off podcast The Good, The Scaz & The Rugby, which focuses on the women’s game.
Squidge cited the pioneers of the women’s game who founded unions and set up the Women’s Rugby World Cup, as people who had done more for the growth of the women’s game.
England’s most capped front row, male or female, Rocky Clarke also had a pop at Haskell, as did journalist Stella Mills among others.
Haskell then amended it to say he had done “more for the growth of the women’s game than anyone”.
Not any of the pioneering generation of women who founded their own unions. Not the women who put houses up to fund WRWC ‘91. Not today’s burst of beloved players.
— Squidge Rugby (@SquidgeRugby) May 15, 2022
Haskell has since released an apology on his Instagram apologising for his initial response to Pam, and explaining his actions.