Individualism: killed by power-hungry suits
Former Canberra Raiders player Josh Dugan. (AAP Image/Penny Bradfield)
Let’s face it. Unless you are a cold-hearted gold digger, clean-cut smarmy types clothed in Italian suits with excess cash spilling out of their pockets have never been high on the greeting cards list.
With their sickening charisma, unsettling corporate smarts and immaculate hair like a young Michael Douglas, you know they’ll steal your girlfriend and sue you twice before the dessert’s even been ordered.
Unfortunately, with the advancement of sport in to an era of professionalism, these businessmen are on every corner among the territory of boofy footy codes that we blue-collar oafs used to claim as our own.
The gilded buggers and their Saabs are a necessary evil in the day-to-day running of sports business, now we’ve all twigged that money is important for buying goalposts, so their big words, clean teeth and uncanny ability to hypnotise with long sentences have all become part of the furniture whether you like it or not.
Up until now, they’ve known their place, meaning a calm but uneasy truce has remained.
They would collect their bulging cheques provided they learned basic footy vernacular, posed for an awkward photo or two, handed over the trophies when required and feigned interest in the game, while always staying the hell away from the leather and letting the players do their thaaaaang.
As for playing bad cop when the necessity arose?
The game’s history made that a cinch for them.
When the players stepped out of line, bar the odd firearm possession charge or clandestine affair with a team mate’s wife, they would respect the working class values of the game by using the ‘boys will be boys’ approach to spanking those who have breached with a ball of cotton wool.
It was too easy. Look cranky through The Daily Telegraph, hand out a suspended fine, a few games off and a forced public apology, which they would usually pen themselves for the kid anyway, and within a few weeks it was forgotten and everyone was happy.
It was a simple agreement that maintained the balance of power between paymaster and drone in the world of local sports.
But not anymore.
Over the last few weeks, the all-powerful defenders of the bottom line have ripped off their shirts, flexed their pipes and then pummelled any individual within their organisation that is considered even mildly rogue, confirming their dark and evil side that we’ve all suspected has lurked dormant within.
Making it worse, this recent outbreak of brutality has been caused by a handful of two-bit misdemeanours that Warney would’ve performed on his ear in a drinks break amidst the spice of the transitional 1990s.
It started at Collingwood, where Dane Swan was fined by the head honchos for the unspeakable act of engaging in unauthorised palaver, before the clamps were really tightened with Travis Cloke’s docking of pay for parking his rig in the CEO’s spot.
The office power-playing continued in Queensland, where the Reds stood down Digby Ioane after he was allegedly found lingering on the outer fringes of a messy melee of beefy blokes, which to me sounds exactly like being three passes off a scrum, the exact thing which he is paid to do.
And in Canberra, what else was a tired, injured and thirsty Josh Dugan supposed to do?
When Generation-Y has a session around a pumping Akai listening to the iconic tunes of their era, ‘the roof is on fire’ means you are obligated under the rules of popular culture to climb up there with a fizzy pre-mix and check it out, otherwise you may be at risk of letting ‘the motherf*cker burn.’
Doesn’t Don Furner understand the basics of contemporary existence?
And geeeez, what about the iron fisting that was the exploding septic tank of Homework-gate?
Don’t go there, sisters.
It seems that suits and ties have taken it upon themselves to move the disciplinary goalposts, and it’s killing the spirit of individualism in the footy codes.
Regardless of the magnitude of the indiscretion, the level of public reaction, or if the indiscretion was actually an indiscretion, the big dogs are coming down on whoever is found at the scene in their colours.
And with added tax lumped on top of the wrist-slap.
Remember the good old days when Ken Arthurson would let you keep your job, even though you were spotted outside of the Empire Hotel looking like a statue because you were plastered to the ground by the stiffness of your own dried vomit?
Well footballers, if this week is a sign of the future, then those good old days of wholesome chunder-fun in the public eye are long gone.
Top office tyranny has slowly grown to disgracefully powerful levels and it’s eroding the characters in sport.
Someone please stop the rot by making a recently retired and heavily concussed front-rower the club chairman immediately.
Or just fast track Tony Zappia or John Elias on to the board of your club.