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Boks break bread on MasterChef challenge

By Luke Meredith

Coach Peter de Villiers may have initially denied it, but the word out of South Africa is that the Springboks’ “injured” stars have been training in a secret Rustenburg camp. However, instead of practicing their line-outs, rucks and mauls, reports from the camp suggest they’ve been honing their duck liver parfait, pork belly terrine and ‘crockenbush’ skills.

UK MasterChef founder Franc Roddam conceded last night that South African television station Mnet had secured rights to produce a local version of the reality franchise.

ThePublicApology understands that the production crew had insisted upon having at least two top-tier Boks on the show. And according to reports, competition was so fierce between players that a secret training session and cook off had to take place.

MasterChef, blamed for disrupting international fixtures

Meanwhile, it is understood that Victor Matfield and Fourie Du Preeze emerged as the two successful players-turned-chefs, edging out Bryan Habana. Habana was left disappointed when judges described his truffle risotto with braised chanterelles as “unpredictable and laced with errors, just like his rugby.”

One judge later referred to Habana’s inclusion in the MasterChef cook off as “the product of an outdated system.”

“He was only there because, in post-apartheid South Africa, all competitions require a certain quota of non-white players; it’s a bloody disgrace,” he said.

“Chefs, like footy players and cricketers, should be picked on merit and not on the colour of their skin.”

Habana, "I thought he'd bring more to the table"

Matfield and Du Preeze are reportedly looking forward to facing more complicated culinary challenges with other prominent South Africans, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, author J.M. Coetzee and actor Arnold Volsoo – better known as the ‘bad guy in the Mummy movies’ – when the MasterChef series premieres later this year.

Americans love soccer… Every four years

By RJ Karas

Very few things can bring out the most rabid jingoist in the United States.  Until the other week, I was unaware that the U.S. Women’s National Team was on that list.  Prior to this month, I knew more participants in the annual 4th of July Hot Dog Eating Contest than I knew the ladies of the U.S. National Team. Last Saturday, if you were to tell me the name of America’s head coach – Pia Sundhage – I would have assumed that she was the new President of the International Monetary Fund before guessing that she was the leader of my nation’s finest female soccer players.  Before the U.S. stunned Brazil in a heart-pounding thriller, I thought the U.S. Women’s National Team was where Freddy Adu had been playing for the past few years.

Since the World Cup ended (in a heart-wrenching loss to Japan), I have a new first and third ex-wife (Hope Solo and Alex Morgan in that order).  After the quarter final victory over Brazil, Oklahoma City Thunder superstar Kevin Durant tweeted that he was going to name his first daughter Hope Solo after her stunning performance in the penalty shoot-out, (imagine the athletic freak show that those two could create… I think it could look a little something like this). With their victory over Brazil, the U.S. Women’s National Team were able to redeem the Men’s National Team for losing to a country — Ghana — who’s GDP is less than that of Wyoming … seriously GHANA?!?!?!

US goalkeeper Hope Solo

For three beautiful weeks in July, my Facebook feed was overwhelmed with YouTube reaction videos; Sportscenter had something to talk about other than the NFL and NBA lockouts; people were googling ‘Megan Rapinoe lesbian?’ and American women felt a sense of empowerment only matched by the feeling they had when they won the right to vote.

One week on though, as Michael Phelps will tell you, Americans will find more interest in whether or not there will be a sequel to Kevin James’ The Zookeeper. What’s the moral of this story, one might ask? Hope Solo and Kevin Durant better hook up SOON!!!

Woods and Williams separate over ‘cheating’ allegations

Tiger Woods has accused his New Zealand-born caddie and confidante Steve Williams of ‘cheating’ on him.

Woods fired Williams this week after rumours began to circulate that the caddie had been secretly courting Australian golfer Adam Scott. Just days after the split, Williams confirmed that he had accepted an offer to caddie for the Australian on a permanent basis.

“I can’t believe that it’s over after 12 years – I really thought we had something special,” a teary-eyed Woods told reporters.

“That’s what you get for investing heavily in someone – it’s definitely the last time I give myself to someone at the exclusion of all others. Fuck monogamy,” he added, bitterly.

Williams told ThePublicApology that being on the PGA tour for over a decade had its temptations.

“There’s just so many exciting, young, talented golfers out there – and while Tiger is certainly a wonderful, charming man, our relationship just dried up over time. He just wasn’t giving me the attention I craved,” he said.

“But I never, ever cheated on him.”

Williams recalled the time he first noticed Scott, back in 2002 at the US Masters, with fondness.

“He was this young 22-year-old, lithe, with a gorgeous swing and laconic Australian charm,” he said.

“We shared a few drinks at the 19th hole over the last seven or eight years and eventually he made the ultimate commitment to me, asking me to be his exclusive caddy. I was stunned, but of course I said yes!”

Scott and Williams, now an item

ThePublicApology understands that Williams has been seeing other prominent golfers at the 19th hole – and occasionally outside of official PGA tournaments – over the past decade. Phil Mickleson, John Daly, Robert Allenby and Miguel Angel Jimenez have all been linked to the New Zealander, while grainy photographs emerged of a professional tryst between the caddy and Woods’ compatriot Jim Furyk, just months ago.

Gossip website TMZ published photographs of Williams  giggling with Furyk at a driving range in Florida in April, but both parties denied it was anything more than “two mates catching up for a hit.”

The string of allegations against Williams are not expected to derail his burgeoning career, or affect the relationship between the caddie and new boss Adam Scott.

Muslim leader to boycott Danny Green bout

"I'm too tempted", Sheik al-Hilali

Controversial Muslim cleric Sheik al-Hilali has pledged to boycott boxer Danny Green’s bout against Antonio Carver this Wednesday night after Green referred to the American as “a piece of meat I’ll chop up.”

Al-Hilali is most known in Australia for his controversial sermon in 2006 in which he said that men were inherently tempted by immodestly-dressed women, referring to such ladies as “uncovered meat.”

But it now appears the uncovered meat reference extended not just to women – but any type of meat-product on public display.

“I was initially really excited about the fight, but I wasn’t aware that there would be any edible meat inside the ring,” he said.

“I better not turn up, it might be too tempting to ravage Carver’s bleeding carcass. You know how us blokes get around uncovered meat!” he added.

The cleric has offered his ring-side ticket to celebrity vegan and former Australian Idol host Andrew ‘G’ Ginsberg.

Ready for the taking.

Meanwhile, vegetarian crusaders have taken Green’s playful pre-bout jibe literally, with hundreds flooding to online-auction website eBay to pawn their tickets. The stray comment could potentially cost organisers thousands of dollars in revenue.

“I came to see a clean fight, not an act of barbarity,” said Harmony McArthur, a vegetarian of nearly seven years.

“Whatever happened to clean, vegetarian-friendly pre-bout banter?”

Green later apologised for his comment, requesting to have it put on the record that he would “slice Carver up like a chunk of tofu.”

AFL player bucks trend, puts grand final over birth of child

"It's a once in a lifetime event"

A Collingwood player has signaled his intention to play in the 2011 decider despite the fact his pregnant wife is due to give birth on grand final day.

The footballer, who asked to remain anonymous, said he took heart from former Collingwood great Saverio Rocca, who famously left his wife in labor to play in a 2005 elimination final.

“I know a lot of blokes will choose the birth of their child over a footy game, but I think it’s time we stopped feeling obliged to be there for our partners and just got on with our day job,” he said.

“I don’t want to go there and sit around feeling useless, holding my drugged-up missus’ hand while while some doctor does his thing, I’d rather go out and help my team to grand final glory.”

The unlucky player has been told his child is expected for October 1, the date of the 2011 grand final. He blamed himself for not “doing the math.”

“We’ d been trying to conceive for a while and it wasn’t until we went on a honeymoon to Bali in the late off-season over January and February that [his wife] Charlene fell pregnant. In retrospect, I should have thought a bit more about the AFL’s programming for the 2011 season before I knocked her up, but the tropical backdrop and flowing Mai Tai cocktails took control of my bodily urges – I’ve only got myself to blame.”

80% of footballers conceive their offspring on the Indonesian island

The move is a break from the usual tradition of athletes putting their family ahead of big sporting occasions.

Cricketer Kevin Pietersen fled the World Twenty20 in the Caribbean last year to attend their birth of his first child, while Australian all-rounder Andrew McDonald hurried home mid-way through the 2009 Ashes series to be by his wife’s side for the big occasion.

And Port Adelaide captain Dom Cassisi could miss this Sunday’s clash with Melbourne, to be played in Darwin, after he elected to stay with his wife up until the day before the game in case she went into labor.

Cassisi was reportedly tempted to emulate Western Bulldogs backman Brian Lake’s “putting footy first” philosophy, but backed out at the 11th hour. Lake famously had the birth of his daughter induced back in 2009 so that he could take part in the finals series.


Netballer suspended for Hopoate-style incident, Hopoate blamed

Hopoate, his fingerprints were all over it

Former NRL bad boyJohn Hopoate has been accused of playing a “mentoring role” in an incident that resulted in the suspension of a Victorian netballer.

The Warrnambool Standard reported that a South West District Netball League player was accused of sticking her finger up an opponent’s skirt several times and making inappropriate contact with her backside and crotch area in a Round 12 fixture earlier this month.

ThePublicApology understands that Hopoate had taken on a $15,000 a year position as ‘forwards coach’ for the unnamed Victorian team. He was headhunted for his unorthodox methods in unsettling players, but the move appears to have backfired. The former Manly player is now believed to be in hiding in country Victoria.

An SWDNL official told ThePublicApology that the specific nature of the incident “rang a few alarm bells.”

“We thought it was a bit strange, so we made a few phone calls and found out that ‘Hoppa’ had been doing a bit of freelance netball coaching,” she said.

“Call me old fashioned, but I won’t tolerate digital penetration in our league. Fingering might be acceptable in the NRL, but not in the SWDNL.”

Making his acting debut alongside Chris Lilley

Hopoate was suspended for several weeks in 2001 for “contrary conduct” after he  inserted his finger in the anuses of three North Queensland Cowboys’ players, the first occurring during the seventh minute of play. The three players involved, Glenn Morrison, Peter Jones and Paul Bowman, are still receiving NRL-funded counseling.

Since retiring from the NRL, Hopoate has enjoyed a moderately successful boxing career. He also appeared in three episodes of Australian mockumentary Summer Heights High as the father of troubled teen Jonah Takelua, played by Chris Lilley.