I am quite sick of what is happening with footy at the moment and it has nothing to do with the state of Carlton right now, even though I am not really impressed with their performance. But that is not the basis of this article even though I will touch on it very briefly.
I don’t get angry very often. In fact, probably only about a few times a year. But this year, I’m getting angry, frustrated and sick and bloody tired of the state of the game right now, across the board. From the AFL as a whole, the MRP, to the so-called unbiased media whose only goal is to make themselves more prominent in the media world, to the umpire fraternity, to so-called supporters and fans who take to social media to spout hateful things about players, coaches and administrators.
So, let’s start from the top – the AFL. I love this game called footy but the AFL with all their tinkering, micro-managing and the constant changing of rules where even the players don’t understand, are ruining the game that I love so much. Fans are getting frustrated with the AFL changing the rules constantly believing that this will make the game a better one. They have become arrogant and self-centred in their own belief in their superiority.
All I have seen is the frustration felt by players, clubs and supporters who have no idea what the rules are. We used to know. We used to be able to state with certainty what the rules were. You hit above the shoulders and make contact with the head; you get rubbed out a minimum of 1-week. Well, that is ok as long as you are not from some clubs where players become ‘protected species’ and no matter what, they get the ok to do it again another week.
I am sick and tired of the umpires who simply have no integrity for the game. Point being that on the weekend of the St Kilda v Carlton match, there was on the ground an umpire who was an ex-St Kilda player. The AFL and the umpires go on about protecting the integrity of the umpires, where’s the integrity in that! Don’t come to me and say that an umpire, no matter who they support or used to play for are objective, that is rubbish. If a judge presides over a case where he has some connection, he recuses himself. The umpires should do exactly the same. I’m not saying that this would have made a difference, but it could have. Umpires are human beings with human traits, and it is ludicrous to think that they don’t come with a little bit of biases.
The umpires need to be held accountable and the way they interpret the rules. I have the greatest respect for them as a group and I understand that it is a human faculty where there can be human errors, I understand this. But when there is a lack of consistency in a game or when they make themselves present during a game; something is not right. The role of the umpire is to allow the flow of the game and ensuring that players are protected, and the rules upheld as much as humanly possible and there will be times when they get it wrong. However, they are to be the referee that hovers in the background and not push themselves in the foreground. They are not doing this. I really believe that the umpires should be made full-time and professional. They need to be continually trained and monitored and to be held accountable. It needs to be a career that starts from the VFL and up to the AFL. Where a person enters the profession knowing that they have a full-time job that encompasses training, accountability and are renumerated accordingly and they need to show a bit of integrity – if you played or support a certain team, you don’t oversee a game with that team in it.
I’m sick and tired of listening to the rationale of the MRP and Christensen giving one player a suspension, then another doing exactly the same thing, nothing. Where’s the consistency in the rules regarding that? Why doesn’t the President of the AFLPA come out and defend other players that have been wrongfully fined or suspended that is not a player from his club? He did that last year because it was a Carlton player. I haven’t seen nor heard of him come out and say anything for any other player from any other club.
The AFL believes that fans and supporters are idiots, they really do. I do not subscribe to the calling of umpires, players etc. that go down the path of racist, sexist, homophobic, aggressive and violent diatribe, but I have a huge problem with the AFL trying to stifle the voice of the fans. We are the major, I repeat MAJOR stakeholders of the game. Not the advertisers, not the media, not the corporations, WE ARE! Without us the AFL has nothing. It has no game, no forum, nothing, yet we are continually policed, charged ridiculous prices for tickets, food and made to feel that we are paying for the privilege of going to a game. WRONG! The fans, together with the Cheer Squads, are the ones that the AFL must appease. Because you can have all the roaming signs on the ground as much as you want, you can have the corporate boxes filled, you can hike up food prices and entry tickets all you want, but without the fans you have nothing.
I am sick and tired of the media and their complete and utter disregard for what is true. In the newspaper today, Jon Ralph in the Herald Sun posted an article about the mid-season draft with the heading ‘Jailbird Picked’ then went to Carlton’s first pick, Josh de Luca. It implies that he was a jailbird! The news breaking last week regarding the Carlton Cheer Squad was deplorable news really and should have never been made to be what it turned out to be when all it was that a person told a journalist who should have checked first beforehand, but thought only of their career and how it would look good on their resume.
I am sick and tired of the media and commentators who come out and state facts about Carlton and the club and have no idea or clue. I’m sick of them bullying and barraging the club and not to others. What about Melbourne who were touted as being top 8 material, are they splashed across the newspapers? Are their coaches, players and admins brought under the scrutiny of the media world? What about Essendon? They were also going to be a ‘team to beat’ in 2019, why isn’t their club, players splashed across the news? Why aren’t journos such as Caroline Wilson debating these teams so publicly and so full of vitriol? Why because no matter what they say or believe, they do not leave their bias at the door, they take it with them and cannot objectively make comments without showing how bias they are.
I am sick and tired of those on social media who believe they have the insight and knowledge about Carlton when they are just forming their opinions and then when someone disagrees, they can’t argue their case, they just block you or resort to nasty, derogatory remarks. What cowards.
I am sick and tired of the constant violence at the games. It should not happen, but it seems to happen more at the MCG and why? There is a complete lack of security at the game for fans. They are non-existence. They need to be more pro-active than reactive. They must allow fans to be fans but step in when called in and not wait until it gets to the point where fights happen.
I am sick and tired of the state of the game right now because as a supporter who loves the game, the atmosphere, the whole aspect of this sport, it is nowhere near the game that it should be. Not even close and the AFL, the commentators, the media, the umpires must investigate how what they do and say affects the very core of the game.
I am sick and tired of where Carlton is right now, but I do believe in their ability to overcome this. I am sick and tired of people calling and speculating the sacking of a coach mid-way through a season when history has shown, it solves nothing. He stated from the outset a 5-year plan, this is the fourth year!
I am sick and tired of players who put themselves above the club and the game. You get to play for a club, you get the privilege of putting on a guernsey where supporters love, show respect for that – play for that. Play for the pride of being at one of the greatest clubs and don’t allow the umpires, the media, the commentators dictate the game – play it on your terms.