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St Kilda’s Mad Monday just bad for everyone

Vince Rugari Columnist

By Vince Rugari, Vince Rugari is a Roar Expert

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    No, this wasn’t a gag from the latest Hangover movie. This was real life. A dwarf set on fire by a professional footballer. Read it and giggle.

    Come on, you know you want to. It’s funny. It’s a little guy! Right?

    Surely this was something resembling the train of thought – if there was one at all – chugging along inside the head of St Kilda’s Clinton Jones, when he strolled straight into the top two of the Stupidest Mad Monday Acts of All Time countdown.

    Nothing, not even this, will beat Joel Monaghan’s decision to invite upon himself a canine’s interpretation of fellatio. But gee, it comes close.

    AFL supremo Andrew Demetriou had to be told twice that this incident was legit – that a dwarf entertainer did indeed have his clothes ignited at a Mad Monday celebration held by St Kilda players.

    Even he had to bow to the hilarity of it all on Talking Footy, going into an uncontrollable giggle fit when Luke Darcy put the matter to him.

    I guess if you enter the dwarf entertainment industry, at some level you accept everything you do is going to be considered hilarious by cavemen on a bender.

    This understanding, however, does not include having your clothes set on fire by a bloke who was apparently trying to do it to his mates all day.

    I remember a mate of mine was doing that at a gathering one time at uni. He was a dickhead. Jones was a dickhead on Monday.

    Throw in the fact not only was he successful, but his target was a dwarf, and it would probably pass as a cheap joke in The Hangover. You can imagine it. Funny in a movie, a little bit.

    But yeah, this is real life. A guy actually did this reprehensible thing. The CEO of the competition he plays in actually laughed out loud when he was told about it on live TV. And his club only fined him $3000.

    Let’s stop there for a second. $3000. OK, there’s not exactly any case law that can determine an appropriate fine for a footballer who has taken a stove gas lighter to a dwarf’s costume.

    He’s not about to get sacked or suspended. And it’s hard to conceive him being dragged in front of the AFL Commission to answer to the now-infamous rule 1.6.

    But at the same time, it’s also hard to deny he hasn’t brought the game into disrepute. At least, the word ‘disrepute’ seems like a pretty liberal definition these days.

    This was wet lettuce leaf stuff. In the statement released by St Kilda, the incident was ludicrously described as “inadvertent”.

    Perhaps Jones was walking back after lighting the barbecue and tripped, fell, slipped and poor Blake Johnston was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    “As a playing group we were engaged in end of season activities which in hindsight were quite childish. I made an error of judgement in including Mr Johnston in the activity,” he said.

    You don’t say.

    “I am embarrassed if this has caused angst and certainly had no intention to cause any harm to anyone, including the St Kilda Football Club and its members.”

    Or, you know, Mr Johnston himself. Or Mr Big, which is the name he performs under.

    But I digress. This was simply a dickhead act by a player we can now comfortably label a ‘dickhead’, on a day when dickhead behaviour is implicitly encouraged.

    Dickheads are not exclusive to the AFL. There are dickheads everywhere. We’ve all been there from time to time.

    I could regale you with countless tales from uni that would make Clinton Jones look like Mother Teresa. It happens.

    There was even one student body-sanctioned event I did not attend – only because I was underage – that had dwarf waiters dressed as Oompa Loompas.

    Young people are dickheads. Add alcohol and a desire to let loose after a long stretch at work and they become even bigger dickheads.

    Dickheads play football at every level, from grassroots right up to the AFL, and a good 90 percent of them will have a Mad Monday, whether their club knows about it or not, because that’s just what you do.

    People cross the line. It is what it is. It will only ever be stopped by an overwhelming stance against dickheadism from the inner sanctum of a playing group.

    Good luck with that.

    Jones had an absolute shocker and should be ashamed of himself, as a professional athlete and as a human being.

    But it’s not just him who comes away from this with his image dented.

    Demetriou needs to take a good, hard look in the mirror if he thinks laughing on TV is an appropriate reaction from the chief executive of the AFL.

    His timing’s impeccable. The game has been only disgraced by an ongoing drugs crisis all season at the same time as his administration’s conduct and integrity has been questioned.

    St Kilda, by the same token, should have given Jones a far bigger whack.

    All a $3000 penalty does is belittle the victim, as if lighting a dwarf’s clothes on fire while off your chops is probably on par or only slightly worse than making reckless contact with an umpire.

    I’m not sure what would have been a better penalty, but $3000 doesn’t feel like a great one.

    Then again, nothing in this awful affair has been great. In fact, I think we all just need to settle down and have a drink.

    Vince Rugari
    Vince Rugari

    Vince Rugari is an Adelaide-born journalist who cut his teeth on the sporting graveyard of the Gold Coast. He fancies the round ball and the Sherrin, and used to be a handy leg-spin bowler before injury curtailed a baggy green push. A Port Adelaide fan by birth, he now is a sports reporter for Australian Associate Press

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    The Crowd Says (131)

    • September 4th 2013 @ 5:10am
      BigAl said | September 4th 2013 @ 5:10am | ! Report

      Was just waiting to see who would be the first to go down this PC line – congrats. Vince you win !

      FHS, AD has for the past 9 months been dealing with the most controversial issues to hit AFL, possibly since its inception , and then on live TV, totally out of left field been presented with this bizarre occurrence !

      I can imagine him responding the same way if MacAvaney and co. had presented him with ‘the breaking story” that Adam Goodes
      had decided to become a Quaker at the same time as having a sex change and was leaving football, returning his Brownlows as a protest against the inherent violence in football.

      • September 4th 2013 @ 8:55am
        mark said | September 4th 2013 @ 8:55am | ! Report

        Have to agree.

        • September 4th 2013 @ 10:49am
          Melange said | September 4th 2013 @ 10:49am | ! Report

          BigAl, Mark, where do you work? Just want to know cause I think it would be cool to come to your workplace and try to set your clothes on fire, yeah that’s right, while you’re wearing them. Just for a joke you know, nothing personal, it’ll be totally awesome!

          • September 4th 2013 @ 11:26am
            mark said | September 4th 2013 @ 11:26am | ! Report

            Yes a bit embarrassing, a bit stupid, but no-one was physically harmed, although the dwarf may have been scarred for life (whatever !!!) …. more likely looking for some extra publicity and money …..oh wait !!!!

            • September 4th 2013 @ 12:09pm
              Bumps said | September 4th 2013 @ 12:09pm | ! Report

              Someone died when some idiot in NZ let alight the clothing of a colleague at an office Christmas party years back. As far as I am concerned this should be almost a criminal offence….

            • September 4th 2013 @ 1:55pm
              Christo the Daddyo said | September 4th 2013 @ 1:55pm | ! Report

              Nobody was physically harmed?!?

              So you’d be OK if I set your clothes on fire, yeah? While you’re wearing them.


              • September 4th 2013 @ 2:12pm
                mark said | September 4th 2013 @ 2:12pm | ! Report

                Who do you barrack for ?.

              • September 4th 2013 @ 4:24pm
                Christo the Daddyo said | September 4th 2013 @ 4:24pm | ! Report

                What’s that got to do with setting people on fire?

      • September 4th 2013 @ 5:13pm
        shrek said | September 4th 2013 @ 5:13pm | ! Report

        And what if someone tried to light your clothes on fire? And then that person’s boss got on TV and basically laughed at your predicament? Haha! Hilarious!

      • September 5th 2013 @ 8:00am
        wotdoo said | September 5th 2013 @ 8:00am | ! Report

        it wasnt out of left field he has mentioned that he was told about it during the preceding add break now how about if you swap the dwarf with a woman or a black man or muslim there would be mayhem over it . funny or not AD is getting past his time

    • September 4th 2013 @ 6:03am
      Adam W said | September 4th 2013 @ 6:03am | ! Report

      A dwarf… who exploits his medical condition to gain money at the expense of all dwarfs, most of whom just want to be treated equally… Who can take this individual serious?

      • September 4th 2013 @ 6:30am
        Emric said | September 4th 2013 @ 6:30am | ! Report

        Yes. He was doing his job as a hired entertainer. Some idiot set him on fire which is a best unethical – abusive, not to mention dangerous and at worst down right criminal.

        • September 4th 2013 @ 4:52pm
          Adam W said | September 4th 2013 @ 4:52pm | ! Report

          As their own website states “we will send dwarfs down to ‘run a muck’ at your party. they are the ones who are inviting this kind of behaviour. But if he can make an extra buck on the next ACA episode on how his life will never be the same, I say good on him…

          • Roar Guru

            September 4th 2013 @ 4:54pm
            Kane Cassidy said | September 4th 2013 @ 4:54pm | ! Report

            That entitles someone to light him on fire now does it?
            And then have people laugh at his expense?

            • September 4th 2013 @ 5:12pm
              Adam W said | September 4th 2013 @ 5:12pm | ! Report

              I am keen to see how much of his clothing got burnt. Do you think it will be shown when he sells his story?

              • Roar Guru

                September 4th 2013 @ 6:12pm
                Kane Cassidy said | September 4th 2013 @ 6:12pm | ! Report

                Take your VFL goggles off, since when was it ok to SET SOMEONE ON FIRE?

      • September 4th 2013 @ 6:50am
        The Electronic Swagman said | September 4th 2013 @ 6:50am | ! Report

        Yes, because we all know there are enormous employment opportunites for dwarfs to feed their families. I know … lets set him on fire. … that would be fair.

        • September 4th 2013 @ 7:13am
          BigAl said | September 4th 2013 @ 7:13am | ! Report

          Also to be fair, all sorts of people were set on fire – apparently it’s a trending cool party trick !

          • September 4th 2013 @ 7:49am
            The Electronic Swagman said | September 4th 2013 @ 7:49am | ! Report

            My comment was in response to Adam W suggesting in a way he got what he deserved for being a dwarf entertainer.

        • September 4th 2013 @ 5:08pm
          Adam W said | September 4th 2013 @ 5:08pm | ! Report

          I understand it would be challanging for dwarfs to find the average job, but I do not think exploiting a medical condition the way many dwarfs do is helping their cause. Iv’e spoken to a dwarf who works at my Uni who said she dislikes these “entertainers” who ridicule their condition and behave almost like they are part of a 18th century freak-show. I share this opinion.

          • September 4th 2013 @ 5:21pm
            Pope Paul VII said | September 4th 2013 @ 5:21pm | ! Report

            She is no doubt correct but the prospect of education uni and career opportunities depends largely on upbringing and might be as likely than scoring a role in “Willow” or “Game of Thrones”. Gotta say the guy who played Willow and Peter Dinklage seem extremely well educated so probably had all bases covered.

          • September 5th 2013 @ 12:44am
            Steve said | September 5th 2013 @ 12:44am | ! Report

            Yes, but you could argue that strippers diminish the dignity of women: doesn’t mean you can assault them without consequence though.

      • Roar Guru

        September 4th 2013 @ 11:40am
        apaway said | September 4th 2013 @ 11:40am | ! Report


        Are you serious, or tongue-in-cheek? If it’s the former, take a good hard look at yourself. I’d generally never disparage an opinion on this site but that is outrageous.

      • September 4th 2013 @ 2:21pm
        The Real Bite said | September 4th 2013 @ 2:21pm | ! Report

        I can. He is an individual with the same rights as everyone else, regardless of his occupation.
        He doesn’t have a “medical condition”, he’s a small person. If other people can take advantage of their “condition” and become basketballers, footballers, boxers and so on is this also, to your mind, “exploitation”?
        If he can make a living as an entertainer as opposed to another job, if he enjoys it more, why shouldn’t he have that choice, and why do you term it as being at the expense of all dwarves?
        How does his choice to entertain as a small person imply that he doesn’t care about other small people being treated equally?
        Lastly, what are you doing? Are you treating him the same way you’d treat anyone who took advantage of their physical condition to make a living?

    • September 4th 2013 @ 7:04am
      db swannie said | September 4th 2013 @ 7:04am | ! Report

      Watch the AFL cheersquad rally to shout down anyone who thinks this is NOT a laughing matter.
      The same cheersquad who would be shouting from the rooftops about how bad RL players are if it happened at a NRL club Mad Monday..
      Even worse would be if David Smith laughed about it on TV ..
      The News LTD rags would go into overdrive.

      But its AFL ,nothing to see here.

      • September 4th 2013 @ 7:49am
        Stavros said | September 4th 2013 @ 7:49am | ! Report

        Not this time. An absolutely disgraceful act, and the performance by Demetriou on Talking Footy was embarrassing. Just about time for AD to call it a day I feel.

        • September 4th 2013 @ 8:56am
          Franko said | September 4th 2013 @ 8:56am | ! Report

          Won’t get any argument from me Stavros, Vlad is finshed.

          • September 4th 2013 @ 9:16am
            mark said | September 4th 2013 @ 9:16am | ! Report

            See the first post, he will not finish up till he wants to, not much to see from here from this tiny incident.

            • September 4th 2013 @ 10:20am
              Franko said | September 4th 2013 @ 10:20am | ! Report

              I think Vince summed it up pretty well mark

              “There are dickheads everywhere”

              Indeed there are Vince, indeed there are.

          • September 4th 2013 @ 10:59am
            Australian Rules said | September 4th 2013 @ 10:59am | ! Report

            When I first heard about this story, I laughed.

            In disbelief, in incredulity, in “you say what happened?”…but I laughed.

            Like anyone, I obviously don’t condone what happened, nor do I think it’s a laughing mater…but I think that laughing, initially, it’s a fairly normal reaction to such an absurd, far-fetched, obscene scenario.

      • September 4th 2013 @ 9:01am
        mark said | September 4th 2013 @ 9:01am | ! Report

        Huge difference is. most people who follow AF have little interest and care whats going on in RL, from watching the news however a plethora of unsavoury incidents have occurred lately in RL, many more serious than this ‘tiny’ incident.

        The cheer squad do not care about your game, and they are completely different from news ltd, do you understand that !!

        And FWIW there was not much to see here.

        • September 4th 2013 @ 10:07am
          Brendan said | September 4th 2013 @ 10:07am | ! Report

          Mark, you seem to know an awful lot about the state of affairs in RL despite your insistence that you don’t care about it..? Confused much?

          • September 4th 2013 @ 11:32am
            mark said | September 4th 2013 @ 11:32am | ! Report

            Plastered all over the news, morning and night on syndicated Australia wide programs, could not give a fat rats clacker about it, but i do have ears, just seems weird for RL cheerboys like DB Swannie to point fingers. ….. actually his history shows it is not weird for him !!.

            • September 4th 2013 @ 3:41pm
              ctar said | September 4th 2013 @ 3:41pm | ! Report

              yes RL is plastered all over the news for incidents far less deserving than this.. so why wouldn’t we point fingers?

              • September 4th 2013 @ 3:55pm
                mark said | September 4th 2013 @ 3:55pm | ! Report

                The only 2 i can think of ATM are one bloke biting another blokes genitals, and another bloke punching some woman, they dont sound like stupid party tricks that actually mean no harm.

                They were the ones on the news, any i missed about RL that i should know ?, …don’t bother, i am actually not interested.

                run along RL cheer boy

    • Roar Pro

      September 4th 2013 @ 9:43am
      Matt Lengren said | September 4th 2013 @ 9:43am | ! Report

      A ‘plethora of unsavoury incidents’ that stack up almost – but not quite – as high as a powerhouse club cheating for two years.

    • September 4th 2013 @ 10:09am
      ciudadmarron said | September 4th 2013 @ 10:09am | ! Report

      I’m sick of football players being described as boys (not in this article, but elsewhere).
      They are not boys. They are adults. Playing in a team sport does not give anyone licence to abrogate their responsibilities as adults or extend their childhood.

      • September 4th 2013 @ 11:39am
        mark said | September 4th 2013 @ 11:39am | ! Report

        And i get sick of PC, moral crusaders who post on websites ……. OMG think of the children !!, the end of the world is near … a entertainer got burnt in a stupid prank ….oh hang on ….he actually did not get burnt !!.

        • September 4th 2013 @ 2:28pm
          Justin3 said | September 4th 2013 @ 2:28pm | ! Report

          Come round and Ill light your clothes on fire while you are wearing them dikchead!

        • September 4th 2013 @ 7:53pm
          ciudadmarron said | September 4th 2013 @ 7:53pm | ! Report

          I didn’t comment on the act itself. There just seems to be a culture of “it’s okay, they are young and don’t know any better” developing around blokes in their 20s. Their 20s!! What exactly is PC about saying that treating adults like children in cotton wool and finding sociological “team-bonding” “peer-pressure” type excuses to explain poor behaviour (again, not necessarily this particular issue) is pathetic?

    • September 4th 2013 @ 10:34am
      daniel p said | September 4th 2013 @ 10:34am | ! Report

      The player in question is indefensible but I can’t believe the club did not see the potential for trouble here.

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