Former Cork hurling great, Donal Óg Cusack, made headlines around the country when he likened hurling’s detractors to “the last remanents of British culture on these islands.”
Following the strange outburst, the three-time All-Ireland winner drew criticism from fans and players for seemingly ignoring what was an enthralling All-Ireland semi-final between Wexford and Tipperary in Croke Park.
Speaking on the RTÉ GAA podcast, Cusack defended the comments he made this past weekend on The Sunday Game.
“In many instances, the likes of Twitter has replaced the writing on the back of a toilet door that you saw when you were kid,” said Cusack.
“You need to be very careful with how you react if you use that as a barometer.
“If you do look at the show on Sunday night, we were on air for over 100 minutes and five minutes were probably taken up by those controversial pieces, if they must be called that, there was 25 minutes on each game, which is a lot from my experience, there were interviews and analysis.
“Brendan’s (Cummins) stuff was excellent, Derek (McGrath) was insightful as always and the piece on the change of structures around half-time, I thought that was a great catch. We did a fair piece around the refs, although I hear people weren’t happy that we weren’t bashing the refs as much as we should be.
“A lot of the focus, from what I hear, has been around the British comment.
“David Fitzgerald having to defend himself after the game in terms of the way he chose to set up, it has been thrown at him the last number of years, and it has been thrown at any changes we see in the game as if it’s in some way disrespecting the game. I have a strong belief that it’s actually respecting the game to innovate.”
The former All-Star goalkeeper also moved to defend his comments around British colonialism, claiming that it wasn’t the first time he had made such references before.
“We were a colony for a long time, unfortunately. Our attitude towards changes in our games reminds me of the slowness of the English to adapt to change in the sports they founded,” Cusack said.
— The Sunday Game (@TheSundayGame) July 28, 2019
“Is it a thing where people want you to say and show what they want you to say and show? That kind of herd mentality isn’t one I’m interested in at all.
“When I came into RTÉ first I felt there was a bit of an old boys’ club feeling to it and it was a bit like joining a political party in the olden days – you walk into the Dáil bar and you vote with us and talk like us. Once you conform, you’ll be okay.
“It’s amusing to think that even among the pundits in RTÉ that there’d be that kind of indulgent and egotistical… writing columns about a couple of points made on Sunday’s show that were only a small part of that show.
“If it makes people feel better about themselves, if they get a few more likes on Twitter and fills a few columns, I’m happy for them.”