The View From Down Here #43 – Special Edition

A special edition after quite a few emails, most telling me I over-reacted to the Matthew Johns affair last week.
            Well, screw you, and here’s my point taken to the nth degree.
            As the fall-out for the rugby league fraternity continues unabated…
            First, Johns has been stood down from Channel 9 and his coaching role (although he is still apparently welcome to coach his son’s under-12s team… they don’t care what he did because, damn it, he’s a role model). But this is where it gets tricky. This happened 7 years ago. He told his wife when it happened. And it was consensual. The problem is, it was consensual between himself, the woman and a second man. The other 8 players who came in and helped themselves were not consensual, and Johns, pillar of the community that he is, did absolutely nothing to stop it. He came on A Current Affair, a tabloid TV so-called current affairs show, and cried about it, but watching it I felt that his contriteness was restricted to being caught. The woman got a sort of apology, but he was most upset at being caught and publically outed. Even his wife, sitting beside him, and angry as all hell (even though he apparently told her when it happened… because it’s something all married men do apparently), seemed to be an afterthought to the self-promotion and self-pity he was exhibiting.
            Then Mr Gyngell, boss of channel 9, thinks nothing of what Johns did, he just bowed temporarily to public pressure. In fact, his own treatment of women has been as bad as a rugby player. Johns’ TV show played the “above it all” card… pathetically. They made a big deal about a change in rugby… and how dio they get that from this? They had talking heads come on and say things have changed. Really? They even had a woman journalist come on and say it was being judged by 2009 standards even though it happened in 2002, and it’s only blown up because Johns is such a “lovable” guy. So, group sex was fine and dandy to this woman in 2002? If Johns had been an arsehole, that would have been fine? The woman at the centre has been pilloried, which is exactly what she said would happen. And what nearly every woman in the Four Corners programme said would happen – fighting rugby league with its sacrosanct position in Sydney’s media is like fighting the US Government. They’ve got too much pull in too many places.
            And then a senior NRL player – under anonymity – laughed at all of this and told a journalist in Sydney that group sex was going to continue no matter what. They didn’t care. They were going to do what they wanted, and that was that. Bugger what the rest of society thinks.
            Finally, it appears that the NRL’s (National Rugby League) own gender adviser Professor Catherine Lumby thinks group sex is fine. In fact, in 2004 when a group sex incident took place, she said people complaining about it were “asserting moral beliefs as moral truths.” She said there was nothing wrong with it. Now she’s said this whole incident as a “wake-up call”. So when was she lying? Then or now? This woman thinks women should be demeaned and that the morals saying group sex is bad are wrong. At least, that’s how it seems to me, reading a lot of her comments to the media from the past five years. It does not matter the inebriation, strength of will, intelligence or anything else. If a woman slurs her hesitant yes, then this woman at the NRL says it’s okay to demean and abuse her.
            And listening to the players say they should be nice to a girl afterwards so she won’t tell on them, or that they should video her to prove it was consensual just shows that rugby league is not going to change…
            Oh, but it’s not only rugby league. NoNoNo. We’ve already had people like AFL’s Wayne Carey being a drunken yobbo tool in public, and Nathan Bock being slapped on the wrist by his football club for assaulting his girlfriend in public (because, according to past players, it’s fine to assault them at home). But this week we discovered that Sydney FC A-League soccer player Sebastian Ryall has been charged because of an alleged sexual act with a 13-year-old girl. Soccer, to its credit, said when they found out on April 23 (it happened in January 2008) he was banned from all forms of the game for four months, while the matter is before the courts.
            So, let’s look at what we’ve had this year so far, shall we?
            First, rugby league:
            Todd Carney of the Canberra Raiders went on a property damaging spree, including cars and shop fronts.
            Anthony Watmough of Manly was accused by a club sponsor of drunkenly punching him and crudely harassing his daughter.
            Brett Stewart of manly has been charged with the sexual assault of a 17-year-old girl while drunk.
            Anthony Cherrington of the Sydney Roosters was sent to anger management after violently assaulting his girlfriend.
            Greg Bird of Cronulla was convicted of recklessly wounding his girlfriend. This has not stopped a French club of picking him up, however.
            Matthew Johns and 8 or so others were outed as having engaged in group sex on a trip to New Zealand.
            How about Australian Rules?
            Jackson Trengrove of Port Adelaide damaged a car after a night of drinking.
            Aaron Edwards of North Melbourne was caught driving quite a deal over the speed limit with alcohol in his system.
            Albert Proud of Brisbane was charged with assault occasioning bodily harm when he threw a glass at a woman at a Gold Coast nightclub.
            Ryan Cook of Collingwood was charged for allegedly assaulting a man causing facial injuries requiring surgery.
            Setanta Ó hAilpín of Carlton punched then kicked teammate Cameron Cloke at an intra-club match.
            North Melbourne players post Boris the Rooster, a sex film, on the internet.
            Nathan Bock of Adelaide assaulted his girlfriend. Allegedly. (Allegedly my arse.)
            As already mentioned, Sebastian Ryall of Sydney has been charged because of an alleged sexual act with a 13-year-old girl.
            Andrew Symonds was caught apparently intoxicated making boorish remarks on morning radio.
            That is just this year so far. It is MAY! 5 months in and these 15 examples are just the most visible ones to us here in Adelaide.


Now, I love sport. I studied sport science; I have been a sports teacher in schools; I still run a moderately successful sporting club. I still even get out there on a leg that lacks an anterior cruciate ligament and perform in the sporting arena. I have coached kids for more than 20 years.
            This disgusts me.
            I do not care about the moral stuff. I do not care about the “rights and wrongs” of this from any side. What I care about is the kids.
            Sporting stars are held in ridiculously high esteem in many Western countries. But in Australia it seems the level is taken to a ridiculous extreme. Courts have let these morons off. Police have not prosecuted them. People are afraid of speaking out because the fans will, literally, kill them. And how do these sporting stars repay their public? The kids who look up top them and want to be like them? By thumbing their noses at the very society that has given all of them a living beyond that of the vast majority of Australians. They believe themselves to be above the law, the people, everything. They are paid by us. They treat us like shit.
            And while they still think like deranged three year olds with no moral compass, no feelings, no care, no brains… there is no hope.
            This is just Australia in the first 5 months of 2009.
            This does not include drug scandals and things that might not have made the papers here in Adelaide.
            This is just the tip of the iceberg…



This sucks.



And that’s this view.


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