It is often instructive to test sporting values against those of the accounting profession. If Dylan Hartley applied for a job with their firm, I suspect any self-respecting practitioner would run a mile.
This makes the anticipated decision to appoint him as captain of the England rugby team seems strange.
In the past, rugby was often described as “a game for thugs played by gentlemen”. With all due respect to Mr Hartley and assuming that reports in the media are accurate, a rethink will be required and in future the English game is likely to be known as “a game for thugs played by thugs”.
As a general principle, someone who has been found guilty of eye-gouging (twice), biting, punching, elbowing and head-butting other human beings would expect to be serving a pretty long sentence at Her Majesty’s Pleasure. That is to without even considering such pleasantries as verbally abusing a match official.
However, when such actions are taken in a sporting context, it appears that the penalty for this long list of crimes is to become captain of your country.
One plus point for Dylan Hartley is that he is probably far less tired than his peers, having spent around 10% of his career banned from playing.
One would love to know why the new head coach of the England team thinks that this is a man who can be trusted to lead a team into what is supposed to be a series of sporting contests. On the (much scarred) face of it, there could be almost nobody in the country less well qualified to lead by example.
The only thing that Mr Hartley has not been banned for is using performance enhancing or recreational drugs. Ironically, an offence of that kind that would merely be self-harming will almost certainly have eliminated him from the professional scene for life or at the very least made him a pariah. Look at Justin Gatlin.
As the opening sentence of this article suggests, it can often be helpful to try and think of the situation in terms of our own businesses.
If your practice needed a new managing partner, one wonders whether somebody who had spent disqualified from directorship and lost as accountancy qualification for a variety of offences including shall we say fraud, defalcation of client funds, perhaps picking pockets and abusing a judge would be high on the list of candidates.
It is a fair bet that such a character would not get a job cleaning your offices, let alone in a professional capacity. Yet, the equivalent is apparently the ideal set of qualifications for appointment to become a captain (not of industry) and role model for youngsters up and down the country.
The consequences of this pending decision could potentially be the greatest period of success for the English rugby team since they won the World Cup so many years ago. However, cynics reading this column might wonder whether a much more likely outcome is yet another lengthy ban for some embarrassing offence that was all too predictable.