Just how evil is Chris Judd?
Nick Duigan and Chris Judd head to the rooms (Photo: Darrian Traynor/AFL Media)
This week the world of AFL – and by extension, everything else – has been abuzz with just one burning question: how evil is Chris Judd?
It’s a conundrum that has plagued sporting commentators since the dawn of time: just how depraved can a footballer become and still be classified as a human being?
Of course we already knew that those who ply their trade between the big and little sticks could sink pretty low on the field.
We all remember Nathan Buckley injecting Cameron Ling with hepatitis, or that time Barry Hall shot Brent Staker to death in the half-forward line. And of course back in the “wild west” of the 80s and 90s, Tony Lockett would regularly eat inexperienced fullbacks.
But there was a certain manly integrity to those atrocities. They didn’t have the mean, nasty, treacherous, effeminate nature of Chris Judd and his special brand of savagery. For Judd, it seems, didn’t learn the lesson from his past lucky escapes, when he got off scot-free after tearing out Matthew Pavlich’s throat and throwing acid in Campbell Brown’s eyes.
The whole footballing world was shocked when Judd bent over the prone and helpless Leigh Adams, and in a deliberate, malicious, and probably racist manner, took his arm and violently wrenched it back behind him – the “chicken wing”, so named because its practitioners are so cowardly. Rumours that he then whispered into Adams’s ear, “Next time it’s coming all the way off” are unconfirmed, but it wouldn’t surprise me.
When a man is this far gone, he’ll say anything.
What turns a man into a monster? When Chris Judd entered the AFL system there was no inkling that he would become the sadistic arm-yanker of 2012. He seemed a nice, polite young man, with handsomely thinning hair and a fetching set of shoulder strappings.
We all thought he’d be a valued addition to the normally well-behaved and gracious footballing fraternity.
But now he has come to this – a cautionary tale for those who would believe man is incapable of lowering himself to the level of the beasts. And we can’t help but ask: is it football itself that is responsible?
Has this noble sport, which we all love so well for its enchanting foot skills and scope for jumping on another man’s back, become a malign force, corrupting our youth beyond redemption?
And if we allow it to continue to grasp at the hearts and minds of our young men, may we find ourselves captive to an entire generation of chicken wingers, eye gougers and men who duck their heads when going for a contested mark? Is this the dystopia that awaits?
If we don’t take swift action to stamp out this creeping malevolence, we may find that indeed it is. And so let us take that swift action: just what kind of penalty needs to be meted out to a player displaying the homicidal tendencies of a Chris Judd – or even the Chris Judd, assuming there is not more than one out there?
Of course the “tribunal” gave him four weeks, but as we all know the tribunal is so soft it might as well be Sarah Hanson-Young. A criminal genius like Judd laughs at four weeks: maniacally, and in a tower.
What we need is harsh, aggressive punishments, a zero-tolerance approach that sends the message that not only is the AFL determined to stamp out deviant behaviour, it is also needlessly cruel.
First up, the minimum penalty for any offence should be a year’s suspension from all forms of football, training sessions or talking to teammates on the phone. This should be applied to minor striking charges, melees, and that gross thing where they blow their nose on the field.
More serious charges should be dealt with via the ‘eye for an eye’ principle. For example, if Chris Judd twists your arm, you get to twist his, and also make derogatory remarks about his wife, as an added deterrent. If your jaw is broken by a reckless bump, you get to break the bumper’s jaw in a public forum.
For repeat offenders obviously the penalties are increased: one limb amputated for a second offence, two for a third offence, and so on.
Extreme? Perhaps. Over the top? Maybe. Insane? Undoubtedly. But when confronted with wickedness on the scale of Chris “the Visy Park Butcher” Judd, extreme measures are surely called for.
We have to take our game back from the thugs, guys. Sharpen your knives.
Ben Pobjie is a writer and comedian writing weekly on The Age, New Matilda and The Roar, whose promising rugby career was tragically cut short the day he stopped playing rugby and had a pizza instead. The most he has ever cried was the day Balmain lost the 1989 grand final. Today he enjoys the frolics of Wallabies, Swans, baggy greens, and Storms. Ben is also the author of the books Surveying the Wreckage, Superchef, and his latest, The Book of Bloke, available from Momentum Books.