A definitive guide to sports sledging
Australian cricketer Shane Warne speaks to the media. AAP Image/Julian Smith
Every now and then professional footballers can get a pretty bad rap in the press and end up being portrayed as nothing more than a bunch of over-paid, self indulgent, muscle-bound man children.
Thankfully then comes along a week like this one to remove all doubt!
In a footy news cycle that featured lead stories on both wedgies and biting, it would take something more embarrassing than Sam Kasiano’s year 10 geography test results to short-sheet such stupidity.
Yep, it took a ‘Mum Joke’.
Now it may never be known whether Western Bulldogs player Will Minson (surely that’s meant to be Mason?) was cracking a funny about Danyle Pearce’s mother being so large that she irons her underwear on the driveway, or perhaps that she is so slow that she believes a cartoon is something you sing on long road trips.
However it is known that mum jokes reached a zenith with ‘the Nutty Professor’ and more or less died along with Eddie Murphy’s career soon thereafter.
Comedic merit aside, Minson’s antics have once again ignited the debate of what constitutes going too far, and what topics are off-limits when sledging in sport.
There are two very different schools of thought on this. The traditional crusty bloke with no ears on the hill’s stance being that anything goes once you step on the field, and the new-age sentiment that players should not need to stoop to verbal intimidation to get an edge on opponents.
Personally I don’t think the sledge is as big a deal as gets made out, as it seems footy players these days are usually too knackered to roll out a decent quip. To top it off don’t all of them wear mouthguards anyway?
“Heyppfff Johnno, I hoorked upfff wid you Miffuff laff night, eh eh”
Doesn’t copy very well does it?
Even still I think it’s time to make a clear list of what’s kosher and what’s not, just so everything is black and white (errrr starting with rule number 1, don’t ever use either of those colours when addressing another player in a sledge!).
Because as much as I don’t want to condone verbal harassment, surely there is room left in Aussie sport for a well thought out humorous quip delivered with impeccable timing?
I propose that the sports bodies join forces to create an independent body to deal with sports sledging. I’m thinking they can put together a panel of some of Australian sports real zing kings, blokes who knew their way around a witticism. Your Steve Waughs, Walters brothers, Merv Hughes and the 2003 Brisbane Lions.
They could discuss what was fair game and what was just plain uncool. In fact, they could even expand their role to helping raise the quality of on-field mockery by taking young up and comers under their wing in special training camps
A weekly 3-2-1 vote could be given out to each sport for best barb with an end of year ‘Sledgies’ Award, where athletes battle it out for Quip of the Year, Best new Banterer and possible induction into the Shane Warne Wit Hall of Fame.
But since the blokes who put together the ARLC are in charge of this project, for now sports fans you will have to make do with the below official streamlined banter guidelines.
- Immediate family members
- Sexual orientation
- Mental health issues
- Indictable criminal offences
- Hair and face
- The scoreboard
- Pay packet
- Lack of ability
- Minor nuisance summary criminal offences
- Media profile
- Wedding tackle sizean>
- Pay packet
- Ugliness of fan-base
- Suit worn to awards night
What do you think, Roarers? Is there anything you can add?
Follow Chris on Twitter: Vic_Arious@twitter.com
Chris Chard is a sports humour writer commenting on the often absurd nature of professional sport. A rugby league fan boy with a good blend of youth and experience taking things one week at a time, Chris has written for The Roar, Rugby League Player Magazine, US Sports Downunder, the QRL and People. Tweet him @Vic_Arious
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