Martin Johnson is a sad casualty of sport’s nanny state

Walking through my local town the other day, I happened upon a man who had just discarded his fag packet into the middle of the street. When asked whether the refuse bin, just yards away, might not have been a better idea, the man looked at me askance: ‘It’s the council’s job to keep the streets clean, not mine,’ he said.

If this small, insignificant story seems a curious place to start this weekly slot, then no apologies are offered. I reacted to the litter-bug with exactly the same degree of puzzlement as I did the rugby revelations last week. Both were glaring examples of an evasion of the kind of personal responsibility upon which the proper functioning of any society or organisation relies.

The excuses cooked up by the England rugby players to explain away a disappointing tournament bore no relation to the world of professional sport as I had known it. And judging by Mike Tindall’s blast on Tuesday, when he continued to lay the blame for his predicament at his employer’s door, these excuses were not merely offered in the cosy knowledge of the promised anonymity……

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