MAL MENINGA Start spread­ing good news

The Courier-Mail - - QUEENSLANDERS -

TODD Green­berg’s com­ments over the week­end about the need for all rugby league stake­hold­ers to em­brace the game rather than con­tin­u­ally tak­ing pot­shots at it struck a chord with me here in San Fran­cisco.

For the past cou­ple of weeks, mem­bers of the Kan­ga­roos staff and I have been in the US to look at the way sports and busi­nesses are run in the big­gest com­mer­cial mar­ket in the world, and what lessons we can take back to im­prove rugby league.

Todd’s com­ments re­in­forced a key fac­tor that we had picked up across Amer­ica’s most suc­cess­ful or­gan­i­sa­tions – ev­ery­one in­volved in its suc­cess gen­uinely cares about it.

With Ma­jor League Base­ball, ev­ery­thing they do is for the bet­ter­ment of the game.

They pour huge re­sources into ju­nior de­vel­op­ment and over­seas pro­grams – not be­cause they are be­ing pro­tec­tion­ist against other sports, but be­cause they want more peo­ple to join the sport they love.

And they know the more peo­ple they have play­ing the game in Amer­ica and around the world, the stronger the sport will become.

The Ul­ti­mate Fight­ing Cham­pi­onship, the UFC, is the fastest-grow­ing sport in the world. It is not by fluke.

UFC is a sport that knows its own iden­tity. It knows what it stands for and has no in­ten­tion of al­ter­ing that view.

Some peo­ple hate it and UFC is OK with that. But mil­lions more love it and its au­di­ence gets big­ger ev­ery day.

The New York Po­lice Depart­ment is an or­gan­i­sa­tion that boasts an ab­so­lutely united front among its mem­bers.

Ev­ery­one in­volved in the NYPD is proud of that fact.

Its mem­bers sup­port each other and pas­sion­ately de­fend each other as well.

The NYPD is a tough or­gan­i­sa­tion to mar­ket pos­i­tively, sim­ply be­cause of what they do for a liv­ing. It is tough to put a pos­i­tive spin on fight­ing vi­o­lent crimes or drug cases.

But the NYPD goes to great lengths to make the point that this is not all they do.

Ev­ery day the depart­ment pro­duces a lot of pos­i­tive sto­ries as well and they get the mem­bers of the NYPD to tell them.

Ev­ery of­fi­cer in the force is given a mo­bile phone by the depart­ment and when they have a pos­i­tive story to tell, or have an in­ter­est­ing story about their work­ing day, they all have so­cial me­dia chan­nels they can use to tell the pub­lic.

Look­ing at what sports are do­ing in the US, I can tell you now there is not a lot of things that rugby league is do­ing well.

As a sport on the world stage, it stands on its own two feet.

But look back through those ex­am­ples of pos­i­tive mes­sag­ing across base­ball, UFC and the NYPD and tell me how rugby league stacks up against these ex­am­ples.

There are lessons to be learnt. Yes, rugby league needs to get out of this decades-old habit of self-sab­o­tage by peo­ple who claim to love the game, or who live and work within the game it­self.

But the game can be work­ing smarter to get the pos­i­tive mes­sage across.

The game needs to let the play­ers be our voices.

Is a pos­i­tive mes­sage from the Gold Coast go­ing to get more cut-through from an email sent to their mem­ber­ship base of 9000, or by Kon­rad Hur­rell send­ing the mes­sage about the Ti­tans to his 161,000 fol­low­ers on In­sta­gram?

If we want rugby league to truly be “the great­est game of all”, then we need to start acting like it.

SPORT­ING CHANC E: A young LA Dodgers fan at a MLB game, Ti­tans and so­cial me­dia star Kon­rad Hur­rell (bot­tom left) and fight fans out­side UFC 223 at Bar­clays Cen­tre in Brook­lyn.

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