Samoan rugby star: World Cup like "slavery"

Eliota Sapolu Fuimaono of Samoa is pictured prior the 2011 Rugby World Cup pool D match Wales vs Samoa at Waikato Stadium in Hamilton on September 18, 2011.
GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images

In a locker room interview last week, soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo scored the egomaniac trifecta, proclaiming that fans jeered him because he was "rich, handsome and a great player."

But this weekend at the Rugby World Cup, a player managed a more controversial hat trick - comparing World Cup organizers' treatment of Samoa to slavery, the holocaust, and apartheid.

Samoa center Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu was irate after his team lost to Wales 17-10 on Sunday and took to Twitter to sound off. Specifically, he was upset that his team was forced to play the key match on just three days of rest, while Wales had a full week off since their last match.

Among his tweets directed at the International Rugby Board:

"Ok, it's obvious the IRB are unjust. Wales get 7 days, we get 3. Unfair treatment, like slavery, like the holocaust, like apartheid."

"IRB, Stop exploiting my people. Please, all we ask, is fairness. If they get a week, give us a week. Simple."

"I wonder how would these tier 1 teams function after only three days rest."

"Give Wales 3 days off, and give Samoa a week!! We would kill them!!!"

"Hey IRB. Suspend me but give Wales the same days off as Samoa."

Fuimaono-Sapolu's complaints are grounded in the almighty dollar. Not surprisingly, the Rugby World Cup scheduling is driven by TV revenue, with the big-money clubs (the "tier 1" teams blasted in the above tweets) being favored.

Tier two nations have the toughest road. According to the Associated Press, Samoa has to play its four pool games within 16 days. South Africa has 19 days and Wales 21.

Athletes crying about tight schedules is nothing new. In fact just last week, Rafael Nadal complained about the overcrowded calendar while playing in the Davis Cup, hinting that players may strike if necessary. The tennis superstar said organizers only cared about money and not the players' health.

But Fuimaono-Sapolu's comments are obviously not just carps about insufficient rest, they are outright accusations of discrimination.

Fuimaono-Sapolu, who was among six RPA finalists for their Player's Player of the Year award, may have a legitimate argument about the schedule but making analogies to slavery, the holocaust and apartheid likely won't help his cause.

Just ask Tiki Barberand Adrian Peterson.

  • Stephen Smith

    Stephen Smith is a senior editor for CBSNews.com

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