NO PLACE FOR SLEDGING IN SPORT
WHAT is it that makes some professional sportsmen think they’re a law unto themselves?
The topic of sledging has been hotly debated this week following an AFL game that saw Carlton captain, Marc Murphy, verbally targeted during the match.
Although it is still not known what the exact taunts levelled at him were, it’s understood they were “highly personal” and related to Murphy’s family.
It doesn’t really matter exactly what was said, it was intended to hurt Murphy and by all accounts it did.
Mind you the verbal battle wasn’t all one-way – Murphy later sparked a brawl when he retaliated and sledged St Kilda defender Jake Carlisle as he lay hurt on the field.
Every big name in footy has chucked their two cents in with some saying that a bit of sledging is good for the game and others saying it’s completely inappropriate.
I’m not a big name in footy but I am a big mouth with a column so I’m going to chuck my two cents in, too.
It baffles me how anyone could think it’s OK to be nasty to other people just because you’re running around chasing ball? Calm down, it’s just a game. If this type of carry on happened at most other workplaces you’d be out the door before you could even finish a ‘ya mum’ joke.
Last year Greater Western Sydney’s Shane Mumford sledged/bullied Lance Franklin during a match saying: “Good to see you’re not on holidays this year” referring to Franklin’s mental health issues.
He has since expressed regret over the comments and called Franklin to apologise “if I overstepped the line”.
This whole ‘in the heat of the moment’, ‘high pressure situation’, ‘some sledging is OK but some isn’t’, ‘there’s sand and there is a line’ rhetoric is rubbish.
Do you know what else is a high pressure situation? Saving people’s lives, yet most emergency doctors and nurses mange to get through that without slagging off each other’s romantic partners.
“A bit of sledging is good for the game,” the pro sledgers say.
You can’t honestly expect us to believe that bullying other people makes you better at sport.
As if all the codes outlawed the practice fewer goals would be scored, wickets taken and tackles made. I don’t think so. At the end of the day being a professional sportsperson is a job.
And nobody should have to go to work and be fearful of what nasty comment might be made about their appearance, family, race, religion etc.
Just this week my friend got told off at a netball match for yelling out “send them home” to cheer on his favourite team. The other team said it was “too negative”.
Imagine what would have happened if he started screaming out about the other team’s medical history?
He would have been booted for life because most of our local sporting communities have decided there’s no place for that type of behaviour on or off the sporting field.
Anyway back to my original question about what makes some professional sportsmen think they’re above the rest of us?
I reckon organisations like the AFL who stand by and do nothing when one of their employees is being abused probably has something to do with it.
Marc Murphy and his wife Jessie at the Lavazza Superbox at the Australian Open