“Obnoxious Little Weed” – Is that the worst you can come up with?

I don’t follow cricket, but apparently this phrase is big news over in India and Australia. From what I gather this is basically what happened –

Elite player Australian Matthew Hayden said the following on a call-in radio show about elite Indian player Harbhajan Singh,

“It’s been a bit of a long battle with Harbhajan. The first time I ever met him, he was the same obnoxious little weed that he is now.

“His record speaks for itself. There’s a certain line that you can kind of go to, and then you know where to push it – and he just pushes it all the time. That’s why he has been charged more than anyone else in the history of cricket.”

Well now. That is possibly the worst insult I’ve ever heard in my entire life outside of elementary school playground. How dare a player – no where near the pitch – call someone a weed.


The Board of Control for Cricket India appealed to Cricket Australia to take action, and he was slapped with a Code of Conduct slap on the wrist. The Indians don’t think that a reprimand was enough and the Australians think that a reprimand went too far.

Weed.  Obnoxious little weed.

Now there is a little bit of a backstory here that involves Harbhajan calling Aussie Andrew Symonds a “big monkey” during a recent test match. That insult does have a little bit more bite than “weed”.

The original sanction against Harbhajan was the charge of Racial Abuse – which covers “offends, insults, humiliates, intimidates, threatens, disparages or vilifies another person on the basis of that person’s race, religion, gender, colour, descent or national or ethnic origin” – that included a three day game suspension. The charge was later reduced to abusive language, which allowed Harbhajan to continue playing and only losing half of his salary for one game.

(The footnote to this story is that Australian United Indian Association came out and said being called a monkey is not racist, because the monkey is one of the highest of the Hindu idols. )

So there you go. Calling someone a weed is an insult in Asia (but interestingly enough, considered a compliment in British Columbia) and calling someone a monkey is not racist because of Hindu religious beliefs.

And the similarities? One organism growing out of shit while the other one flings it.

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~ by Sarah Sprague on February 28, 2008.

3 Responses to ““Obnoxious Little Weed” – Is that the worst you can come up with?”

  1. This is why any time I travel internationally, I try to say as little as possible, lest I’m beaten to death with a claw hammer after a misconstrued “Would you pass the syrup?’ remark.

  2. It’s like when I tell people that they’re crab grass. Straight crab grass.

  3. I guess it’s less about linguistic connotation and more to do with context and situation! Weed is good, it gives a nice high while calling a Homo Sapien a monkey (if he did at all) is calling a spade a spade

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