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Lam close to tears at press conference

Published: 4:17PM Wednesday April 11, 2012 Source: ONE News

Blues coach Pat Lam choked back tears in front of a large media contingent this afternoon as he talked about racist taunts that have been levelled at him on social media websites.

Lam struggled to string sentences together as he explained the comments had been particularly hurtful to his parents, who are of Samoan descent.

Members of the public have suggested Lam favoured players of Pacific Island heritage and that he should be replaced by a European.

"It's the faceless people on social media and talkback where people say pretty offensive things like it's because I'm an Islander that we're losing. That's just offensive," Lam said.

"It's certainly hurt my parents. They've sacrificed themselves for us to come here and have a better life."

Lam said that while he accepted fair criticism from the media he found it hard to witness racist comments against his parents, who are a source of inspiration to him in his work.

"I've seen the hurt they go through when it's a racial thing, so the emotion is more about my parents.

"When I think about my parents and the tough times they went through, and the people they are& that's what I try to do with this team."

Lam, who has been under pressure after a poor season for the Blues, said it had also been a tough few weeks for players of Pacific Island descent on his team, who have endured their share of racially-charged criticism.

"When those people have a forum to speak and everyone jumps on that bandwagon, I feel for them.

"I feel for a lot of the guys on the team, like Keven Mealamu and his family and all the boys who have Island or Maori backgrounds."

"If you look at that World Cup winning team, there's a lot of those guys there who are intelligent, good men. It's just a shame that people can throw those sorts of things around."