Violence in club rugby attracts few headlines
I hesitated slightly before writing this, but I have to say that I think there is a fair bit of hypocrisy in Australian sport – both in the media and amongst followers.
On Saturday, there was an incident at a Shute Shield rugby semi final where a spectator allegedly reached over the fence and punched one of the Gordon players.
It was an incident that was viewed by many on TV and at the game and was reported in the Sunday papers.
Which is all well and good, but I must admit, one question has been going through my mind since I first read the article (deep in the sports section) over my toast on Sunday morning: what would have been the reaction if it happened in a game of football (or soccer for those who have not yet adopted the official term)?
I will tell you.
It would have been the lead story on TV news and would have been the front-back page headline on the Sunday papers rather than being buried in the sports section as it was.
Now, as regular readers of the Roar would know, I am not a football ‘tragic’ and nor do I pretend to be an in-depth follower of the game. Hence, I do not have any particular barrow to push.
However, I am astounded beyond belief that there hasn’t been a loud outcry of shame, disbelief and outrage that this has happened.
And the question has to be asked as to why?
Fact is, if this had happened in an A-League, State Premier League or a game in the park, this volume of outrage that it would have caused would have set talkback radio shows alight Monday morning.
Why haven’t there been loud calls from people in the street for the police to be involved to arrest these supporters for their alleged assault on a player involved in the game?
Why didn’t representatives from NSW Rugby immediately come out with statements of strong condemnation of these acts of violence (which it was) and their commitment to ensure that it doesn’t happen again?
Why hasn’t the ARU come out and insisted that a full investigation into the act be undertaken to ensure that those kiddies who play rugby and have aspirations of representing their club don’t have to worry about being attacked by spectators while playing the game?
Why has John O’Neill been so silent in recent days? Surely, being a leader means being seen in bad times as well as in the good.
What it highlights is that there is a fair bit of hypocrisy that exists within the Australian sports community – amongst the media and the supporters.
What happened on Saturday afternoon was a slight not just on rugby union but on Australian sport in general.
As such, this should have had everyone screaming from the rooftops about the bad example that sets ‘our children’ and demand action be taken to ensure it never happens again.
However, seeing that it occurred during a rugby union game on the northern suburbs of Sydney, it seems to have only stirred a mild case of displeasure.
Or am I wrong?
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- Rugby Union