Bulldogs Mad Monday antics part of a proud tradition
The Melbourne Storm's Billy Slater (left) scores a try against the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs during the NRL Grand Final at ANZ Stadium in Sydney on Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012. (AAP Image/Paul Miller)
At the tender age of six, I was subject to the most horrifying of experiences a person can ever have to deal with – a rugby league player’s idiocy.
For as long as I can remember, and well before the incident which I will come to outline, my mum had told me football players were morons.
I’d never believed her, because footy was awesome and therefore the purveyors of awesomeness – the players – couldn’t be anything less than legends.
I continue to hold the belief plenty of them are legends, however I’ve learnt on-field legend and off-field moron are not mutually exclusive.
We were on a family holiday on the Marianas Island of Saipan in what must have been October, because a rugby league team were there, enjoying their end of season trip. One evening, someone at the hotel announced the team were present and one of the players was going to say a few words.
The whole team gathered behind their spokesman. Quite what he said I can’t recall, because it was some 20 years ago and, more importantly, because one of the other players was doing something which caused to distract the attention of all those gathered.
Flopping his penis out the leg of his shorts.
Now one could be forgiven for this – it’s an easy mistake to make. You’re on holiday, you’ve had a few and you’re wearing the short shorts which were the fashion in the early 90’s. Sometimes things slip.
However, after the player who was saying a few words noticed what was going on, he told the flopper to put it away. The flopper obliged, but as the spokesman continued with his speech – flop! Out it came again.
He must have been told to keep it in his pants a good half a dozen times, but it never stayed in for long.
My brother and I were in stitches. It was probably the funniest thing we’d ever seen – a grown man who understood the subtleties and complexities of a good wee-wee joke.
At the time I would have loved nothing more than to have sat down with him and asked whether he found poo funny as well. How about farts? Who was I kidding – a bloke who was willing to show his doodle to that many people was a comic genius – of course he’d know about the joke gold mine that is the pants region.
My parents were less impressed. The phrase ‘ruined our holiday’ was uttered. Mum has a tendency to be melodramatic from time to time.
Looking back on the incident, however, I can’t believe how stupid that player was.
I don’t remember who he was and neither do my parents – but I daresay dozens of other people who were present that evening know exactly who he was. And while plenty of people under the age of ten thought he was hilarious, anyone who was old enough to go to an AO movie (it was the 90’s, get on board) considered him an idiot.
And all it would have taken was one person with a camera to turn an anecdote from a holiday into a front page story which ends a career.
However, at that time, every single person wasn’t carrying a device in their pocket which doubled as a camera. And, to be fair, players weren’t coached on the importance of good public behaviour, because they weren’t really celebrities back then the way they are now – they were blokes with full time jobs who played a bit of footy as well.
Which makes what happened at Canterbury’s Mad Monday session all the more incredible.
How could they be so stupid?
In an era where players are taught the importance of good PR, because literally everyone in the world is a member of the two megapixel media, they made sexually suggestive and violent comments to a woman who was a member of the actual media, as evidenced by her credentials and accompanying cameraman.
Were it a member of any other profession in the world, I would have to see the footage to believe anyone could be that much of a fool.
But when it comes to rugby league players acting like idiots, I’ve seen more than enough.
Joe is the editor of Disaffected Middle Class