Zac Guildford, a New Zealand All Blacks and Canterbury Crusaders rugby squad member, reportedly stormed into Trader Jacks bar in Raratonga, New Zealand, Friday night, naked and bleeding from cuts received earlier in the day, according to the New Zealand Herald.
Yesterday, Guildford's grandparents, Frank and June Burt, said from their Featherston home that Guildford's mother -- their daughter Deb -- had called to tell them about the incident, the latest in a string of alcohol-related episodes that have put the winger before the New Zealand Rugby Union management three times in the past 18 months. His grandparents and mother said that his drinking problems stem from the early death of his father, who died of a heart attack at the end of the New Zealand Under-20 team's 44-28 World Cup final win over England in Tokyo in 2009.
Guildford himself told Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder that he was hurting and ashamed of what took place and couldn't remember what happened.
I think that for the very first time, Zac has acknowledged that he's got an issue, that he can't control his drinking, and it's obviously causing a lot of issues, not only for himself but also his family as well, Blackadder said to the Herald. Maybe some good can really come out of the fact that he acknowledges he really needs help. It's a time when we need to support him rather than judge him.
After Guildford showed up to Trader Joes covered in blood, he allegedly then proceeded to punch two men, climb up on a stage in the bar and run into the kitchen where staff promptly covered him in an apron. He finally left with a group of women he had been partying with earlier and police arrived soon after.
NZRU professional rugby general manager Neil Sorensen said the union doesn't know much about the incident and has to find out the facts.
The second thing we will do is help the guy if he is in trouble, said Sorensen.
While that means Guildford will probably keep his job, he could be fined several thousand dollars or suspended, as he is already on notice.
Because rugby is regarded as New Zealand's national sport, even the New Zealand Prime Minister, John Key, chimed in on what happened.
What I would say is Zac Guildford is obviously a player with an enormous amount of ability, but if the media reports are right, he needs to try to resolve those personal issues he's going through, said Key.