Be critical, but do with it respect!

Photo courtesy of AFL

Disclaimer: Again, this is a disclaimer. This blog and my writing will not go into what is right or wrong with the performance on the weekend. There are so many other voices that handle, and we don’t need another one. So for those expecting that here, on this blog, don’t read on, as you won’t get that here. I will allude to the game, but I won’t single a player or even a coach out for either criticism or praise; that is not the aim of this blog. If that’s not for you, that is fine.

I have made a very concerted effort this year not to read, listen or watch footy shows. After last year the rubbish diatribe that these so-called “experts” spouted made me realize two things: one, they say what they say for clickbait. To make themselves relevant and to get a reaction from others is the second reason – to get a reaction. I cannot think of one journalist, commentator who does not have an ulterior motive in what they say and how they say it. So given that, I decided not to give them any listening or reading credibility. This is also true for some on social media who delight and enjoy and insist that their view, their opinion, their “insightful” knowledge of Carlton is something we should all sit up and take notice of.

I am pointing to those who, the moment the siren went, were on social media insisting that we get rid of our coach and get Ross Lyons! That we need to right now, sack (again) our coaching panel and some of the players. There were some that I really wanted to reply to but decided they were not worth the effort or the agitation that I felt in these comments and people to warrant me ever thinking that their insight is the one I must believe in. I don’t.
Now I know that some will read this the wrong way and ask me what I would do or what should be done. That I must educate or teach others about what should be done at the club! It happens all the time because some just want a reaction or a pat on the back. After all, they are right, and we are wrong (sarcasm).

I don’t see the world in a “half-glass empty” or with rose colored glasses. The footy world is about being a part of a group of people who play a game that I love to watch and support a club that I have loved since I came to Australia. I see that sometimes, this group get it right, and sometimes they don’t. I see that this group have been through a very tumultuous time over the years, including a pandemic that, for some, the mental pressure of this does take a toll.
I believe in what the club is endeavoring to do for the long-term, which could mean short-term pain for long-term gain.

I don’t want to hear that “we have been hearing this for a while” when that “while” includes years of turmoil.
The audacity some feel that they have to belittle, mock, and bully others for having a different viewpoint or opinion from theirs shows that they are not interested in anything else but their view, opinion; and that theirs is the one that can and will make the club better. I have no issue in a healthy discussion or being proven that I am wrong, but don’t come at me spouting something irrelevant to the discussion at hand. I am not afraid of sticking up for myself or others, including our players and coaches.

Some on social media post after the game and look at what was optimistic about the game. Some feel that these posts are served up by people who have no clue about the game, where we are at or who is leading our club to eventual success. The majority of supporters are sick to death of the past events that has seen the club go through more sackings than it should have gone through. We want stability because with stability comes contentment and with that comes eventual success.

This need to constantly harangue players and coaches is deplorable and must be stopped. We have seen players, ex-players and ex-coaches leave the game and some, their life, because of mental issues. Some pile on their diatribe of ridicule and then offer their sympathies, or say “good luck” when a player, coach steps away from the game because of mental health issues.

Society right now is not the same as it was back when Carlton was a dominant club. We have to and must move on from that. We have to allow our coach to mold and re-shape a team that he only took over one and half years ago. We have to stop insisting that he be sacked because his plan does not fit with yours. We have to stop belittling, mocking and bullying players because they were just not good enough on the day. We can be critical, but it can be done with a dignity that I know that everyone expects to get themselves.

This blog article stems from two things that affected me. One, a person in South Australia, who always sent me positive and warm feedback when I posted my articles and who I met the few times I was in SA, passed away. I don’t want to know why, as that is none of my business. The second was listening to an absolutely talented sportswoman (not a footy player) step away from a Grand Slam competition because of mental health issues because an organization was so dogmatic in their stance that they forced Naomi Osaka’s hand, and she stepped away from the competition.

What has this to do with Carlton? We cannot be the catalyst of why a player or a coach who has the capacity, will and ability to make this club successful if all they get from some is mockery, bullying and continual calls for sacking. Be critical, have an opinion, a view, but do it in a way that is, as some headline their posts – positive and do it respectfully.
For the record, I, too, was upset about how the game went on Sunday, but I can see what the future will be for the club and what we are building. Michael Jordan, a legend in the game of basketball, said, “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” Finally, DeMar DeRozan, Spurs basketball champion, said, “It’s okay to be vulnerable. It’s okay to want to be better. It’s okay to break yourself down to be able to build yourself back up to be someone better and stronger.”

Carlton has been broken down, has a want to be better, and we are building ourselves back up to be a stronger and better club. We will lose, we will succumb to game-winning losses, but we will eventually succeed. We have to do that by supporting our club, players and coaches by not belittling, mocking or bullying them on social media. We must not lose players or coaches from the game because we feel it is our right to become “trolls” and that we know better.
I don’t want to see any of our players or coaches leave the game because of mental health reasons that we could have somehow been a part of. Be critical, show your anger, but do it with the dignity and respect that you would want yourselves.


P.S Carlton has two selections in the mid-season draft which will be shown live on the AFL website and AFL Live Official App from 6.30pm AEST on Wednesday 2nd June.