Codewars? A little perspective is all it takes to get along

John Duerden Columnist

By John Duerden, John Duerden is a Roar Expert

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334 Have your say

    Australia’s code wars took a turn for the worse this week with the furore over a ‘joke’ coined by a comedian with a penchant for Aussie rules.

    The ensuing row was as predictable as a Tim Cahill goal celebration.

    There was outrage and then a backlash against such outrage, claiming that you can’t say anything these days though why anyone would want to say anything like that at a time like this boggles the mind.

    But aren’t people getting sick of the inter-sport squabbles? Perhaps things have gone too far when there are those who see a plane crash involving a team from a rival sport as an occasion to try and make a joke referencing negative stereotypes.

    In a year that has seen the growing popularity of divisive forces throughout the world, is it too twee to ask if we can’t all get along?

    At least we can agree to disagree.

    There are obviously issues that annoy some fans of some sports about other sports.

    AFL fans have a point (though not in the form of jokes about the recently deceased) in that there is too much play-acting in football and there can be a certain smugness in the fact that football fans trumpet the international aspect of their game as opposed to the perceived parochialism of AFL and others.

    Football fans have a point when it comes to how much of the mainstream media has double standards when it reports on anti-social behaviour of spectators. Other sports in the country have an embedded media advantage that is tough to shift.

    As a football writer, my bias moves towards football and I have sympathy for fans down under.

    I remember, many years ago, having a beer in a Kyoto bar, wearing a Johan Cruyff t-shirt. I was told by a passing Aussie that he was tired of people telling him what he could call football and what he could not.

    It seemed strange to me. Why would I care what someone else called the game and why would he care what I did?

    Perhaps it is time for a reset in relations? Surely most people like numerous sports. It would be strange to like one sport and then eschew all others.

    In musical terms, it would be similar too liking one group and one group alone. You can dig the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. And if you like one and not the other, it is just one of those things. People have different tastes.

    Personally, I like cricket but (apart from my time in India many years ago) have lived in Asian countries that are not into the game. It is easy to lose touch. I don’t mind rugby and have never really had the chance to watch AFL.

    Australia should celebrate its sporting culture which is strong and vibrant. I loved watching the Big Bash on television when I was down under for the 2015 Asian Cup and it was great to visit the MCG.

    There are four major team sports vying for the nation’s affections – and then the usual tennis, golf, Formula One etc – and they each have their own strengths, weaknesses, histories and cultures.

    It could be like England where there is one game so dominant that it pushes other sports aside. The Aussie system is healthier and more diverse even if it can be a frustrating experience at times for football fans.

    There are always going to be issues but there is surely more that unites than divides. It’s time for to cease fire and ire.

    Getting hassled by a parent or partner about spending too much time playing video games? Now, you can tell them the story of how some ordinary gamers scored $225k for just seven weeks of work.

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    The Crowd Says (334)

    • December 1st 2016 @ 7:16am
      Waz said | December 1st 2016 @ 7:16am | ! Report

      I often think we make too much of so called “code wars” with it really being the domain of keyboard warriors than an actual “thing”.

      In Brisbane there are thousands of Roar fans who are also Bronco’s members, plenty who follow the Reds (myself included) and we all seem to like the Cricket.

      Given so few people in Australia (as a percentage of total population) regularly play or watch a sport live I would have thought there’s plenty of room to grow the pie and keep everyone happy. It begs the question, what are the code-war warriors afraid of??

      • Roar Guru

        December 1st 2016 @ 9:05am
        Epiquin said | December 1st 2016 @ 9:05am | ! Report

        I think the code war stems from the fact that we have four major professional football codes vying for a piece of a very small market and each code has to make every dollar stretch as far as possible. Losing any sort of market share means losing money, which leads to losing players, which leads to losing fans and the cycle continues.

        Sports administrators need to be code warriors because their code’s ability to survive depends on it. I think many fans recognise this and end up becoming “missionaries” for their sport because they don’t want to see their sport become a niche activity played in a handful of backwater parks.

        • December 1st 2016 @ 10:10am
          Waz said | December 1st 2016 @ 10:10am | ! Report

          I don’t think that’s the case although there’s a ring of truth in some of what you say. The Australian sports market is one of the biggest in the world so there’s plenty of dollars to be had and most of the professional teams exist in City’s numbering millions which is more than enough to feed multiple teams/codes. The USA manages to have five codes (Football, Baseball, Basketball, Hockey, Soccer) competing with each other without similar code wars, and by in large I think we do too although clearly not as friendly as over there. There’s just a few individuals on-line and in print that fan the code war embers every so often

          • Roar Guru

            December 1st 2016 @ 10:26am
            Epiquin said | December 1st 2016 @ 10:26am | ! Report

            The Australian sports market isn’t that big – we are a country of only 25 million people, so, although we have a high disposable income, the potential audience for advertisers and media companies is nothing compared to other countries. The USA is 320 million people – more than 13 times that of Australia, while their “big 4” sports are vastly different (they aren’t all codes of football like Australia). That’s why their top athletes earn salaries in the tens of millions while Australia’s top footballers are lucky to crack 1 million.

            Using NRL as an example, if it allowed itself to lose market share, its best athletes will be lost to European Rugby where they can earn much more cash. We are a small domestic market that has to compete with a much bigger international one.

            • December 1st 2016 @ 10:48am
              punter said | December 1st 2016 @ 10:48am | ! Report

              “We are a small domestic market that has to compete with a much bigger international one.”

              Welcome to the world of Football Epiquin, welcome to our world.

              • Roar Guru

                December 1st 2016 @ 10:57am
                Epiquin said | December 1st 2016 @ 10:57am | ! Report

                Business too!

              • December 1st 2016 @ 11:33am
                punter said | December 1st 2016 @ 11:33am | ! Report

                It’s the capitalist world we live in!!!
                As Winston Churchill said,

                ‘The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.’

              • December 1st 2016 @ 1:53pm
                Bruce said | December 1st 2016 @ 1:53pm | ! Report

                Yeah terrorism is international too

              • December 1st 2016 @ 4:14pm
                punter said | December 1st 2016 @ 4:14pm | ! Report

                Terrorism is also very local!!!!!

          • December 1st 2016 @ 2:48pm
            steve said | December 1st 2016 @ 2:48pm | ! Report

            Sorry Waz, but we aren’t as big a market as you think we are. A country of 24 million people, and you can guarantee a fair chunk of them couldn’t care less about any sports full stop. So your market is diluted to start with. Comparing the five US sports you mentioned in a market that is 13 times bigger than ours, comparing five completely different sports to Australia’s four separate football codes is like comparing apples and oranges.

      • December 1st 2016 @ 1:11pm
        Jack Russell said | December 1st 2016 @ 1:11pm | ! Report

        Yep, speaking for myself i’ve only ever encountered code wars on the internet or in the media. I’ve never seen it in the real world.

    • December 1st 2016 @ 7:20am
      correct sometimes said | December 1st 2016 @ 7:20am | ! Report

      “I don’t mind rugby and have never really had the chance to watch AFL.” – obviously from melbourne with such a phrase

      • Roar Guru

        December 1st 2016 @ 10:00am
        mds1970 said | December 1st 2016 @ 10:00am | ! Report

        No-one from Melbourne has never really had the chance to watch AFL.

    • December 1st 2016 @ 7:41am
      Wasp said | December 1st 2016 @ 7:41am | ! Report

      I played Rugby League till I was about 16 and still like the game. I love Football when the game started in my town and have played and supported ever since however and been a keen World Game person following most Leagues around the world for almost 50 years now.

      I have like AFL and follow the hated Magpies and I live in Sydney. Don’t like Cricket Golf or Tennis. You like what you like and that is why we are human, we are different and because we are tribal we also need to belong, so who do we sing for !!!!!

    • Roar Guru

      December 1st 2016 @ 7:49am
      Mister Football said | December 1st 2016 @ 7:49am | ! Report

      Personally, I’ve never seen any evidence of code wars in Australia, however, there is much evidence of paranoia, whining and whinging from certain quarters.

      • Roar Guru

        December 1st 2016 @ 8:27am
        Cameron Kellett said | December 1st 2016 @ 8:27am | ! Report

        Mister Football, where is “much evidence of paranoia, whining and whinging from certain quarters” coming from?

        • Roar Guru

          December 1st 2016 @ 8:42am
          Mister Football said | December 1st 2016 @ 8:42am | ! Report

          It manifests itself on the odd occasion.

          You’re not feeling guilty are you? 🙂

          • Roar Guru

            December 1st 2016 @ 9:10am
            Cameron Kellett said | December 1st 2016 @ 9:10am | ! Report

            I only asked a question.

          • December 1st 2016 @ 4:55pm
            brian drian said | December 1st 2016 @ 4:55pm | ! Report

            mister football, i hope you get the help you so obviously need.

        • Roar Rookie

          December 1st 2016 @ 8:58am
          Mr Football said | December 1st 2016 @ 8:58am | ! Report


          The best response to the blogger you just responded to is to not respond.

          That’s what these kind of bloggers want.

          As the saying goes”They are a Sheep in Wolfs clothing”.

          • December 1st 2016 @ 9:22am
            Hubris said | December 1st 2016 @ 9:22am | ! Report

            “The best response to the blogger you just responded to is to not to respond”.

            Not quite. The absolute best response to that blogger is to copy his username and avatar for your own, then not respond. You sure showed him.

          • December 1st 2016 @ 9:24am
            The Word said | December 1st 2016 @ 9:24am | ! Report

            The best response to said blogger is to respond to the person who responded to said blogger, with an alias account clearly set up to mock said blogger, that the responder is best not to respond to said blogger. Definitely not obsessive

        • December 3rd 2016 @ 7:59am
          Kasey said | December 3rd 2016 @ 7:59am | ! Report

          #Mister Football:
          are you familiar with the term Gaslighting?
          from wiki:
          gas-lighting is a form of psychological abuse in which a victim is manipulated into doubting their own memory, perception, and sanity.[1][2] Instances may range from the denial by an abuser that previous abusive incidents ever occurred up to the staging of bizarre events by the abuser with the intention of disorienting the victim.
          I see it in a mild form here all the time. Flat out denials that injustices have occurred and explained away by telling football fans they are being paranoid and whinging about nothing.

          • December 5th 2016 @ 12:59pm
            Perry Bridge said | December 5th 2016 @ 12:59pm | ! Report

            “Gaslighting”…..okay, so not what happened to the Olympic Lyon goalie in the video on theRoar currently.

      • December 1st 2016 @ 11:35am
        Aethelbert said | December 1st 2016 @ 11:35am | ! Report

        So an article about the manifests of code wars prompts you to say you’ve never seen any evidence of code wars.

        I’d say the fact a well known comedian can joke about the deaths of footballers in such a manner proves that there is a code war mentality in this country.

        • Roar Guru

          December 1st 2016 @ 2:59pm
          Mister Football said | December 1st 2016 @ 2:59pm | ! Report

          Well, you are only the second person on this thread who has ever heard of him.


        • December 1st 2016 @ 5:36pm
          Perry Bridge said | December 1st 2016 @ 5:36pm | ! Report

          No….it says nothing about code wars and says much about one specific comedian having a bad moment.

    • December 1st 2016 @ 8:14am
      Fadida said | December 1st 2016 @ 8:14am | ! Report

      There are many many Knights and Jets followers in Newcastle, so no code wars here.

      AFL, however, is like seagulls fighting over a chip 😉

      • Roar Rookie

        December 1st 2016 @ 9:12am
        Mr Football said | December 1st 2016 @ 9:12am | ! Report


        “AFL, however, is like seagulls fighting over a chip”

        That’s gold.

        • December 1st 2016 @ 10:07am
          rasty said | December 1st 2016 @ 10:07am | ! Report

          No…That’s old.

          • December 1st 2016 @ 11:34am
            punter said | December 1st 2016 @ 11:34am | ! Report

            But a gold goodie!!!

          • December 1st 2016 @ 12:47pm
            morebeer said | December 1st 2016 @ 12:47pm | ! Report

            …but accurate…

            • December 1st 2016 @ 5:42pm
              Perry Bridge said | December 1st 2016 @ 5:42pm | ! Report

              More accurately it’s soccer players going the ball with their heads.

      • December 1st 2016 @ 7:01pm
        Swanny said | December 1st 2016 @ 7:01pm | ! Report

        Newcastle does follow both a league and nrl. There is a definite growing interest in afl especially in junior numbers . Room for all sports

        • December 2nd 2016 @ 1:33pm
          PGNEWC said | December 2nd 2016 @ 1:33pm | ! Report

          Isn’t Heaney the Swans player from Cardiff ?

        • December 2nd 2016 @ 3:46pm
          Perry Bridge said | December 2nd 2016 @ 3:46pm | ! Report

          I’ve a friend who has lived up there for over 20 years now – first RAAF and now just a civvie – played/coached footy and womens footy is surprisingly strong up there too.

    • December 1st 2016 @ 8:18am
      Nemesis said | December 1st 2016 @ 8:18am | ! Report

      Comments poking fun at the deaths of Chapecoense footballers from Aussies who proudly claim they hate football has been truly disgusting.

      Don’t care if you hate football. But, to see people gleefully making fun of this tragedy has exposed them as pure filth.

      Lets be clear.

      If anyone made jokes after a group of cricketers were killed by terrorist attack on their bus, or a cricketer was killed when playing, or an AFL player was killed when he overdosed on drugs no one would accept “it’s just a joke”.

      • Roar Guru

        December 1st 2016 @ 8:29am
        Cameron Kellett said | December 1st 2016 @ 8:29am | ! Report

        Nemesis, I’m sure there would be. There are silly people in the world to say the least. A lot of people thankfully didn’t condone this “joke” and gave it what it’s worth!

        There was no whinging or paranoia involved. Just smart people calling something out for what it is.

      • Roar Guru

        December 1st 2016 @ 9:07am
        Epiquin said | December 1st 2016 @ 9:07am | ! Report

        I didn’t hear the comments referenced in the article. Can you enlighten me?

        • Roar Guru

          December 1st 2016 @ 11:18am
          Magnus M. Østergaard said | December 1st 2016 @ 11:18am | ! Report

          He mentioned the plane crash and said something along the lines of: ‘Apparenly shouts of Penalty Penalty were heard from the wreckage.’

          • Roar Guru

            December 1st 2016 @ 11:51am
            Epiquin said | December 1st 2016 @ 11:51am | ! Report

            Wow. That’s really off.

            • Roar Guru

              December 1st 2016 @ 12:37pm
              Magnus M. Østergaard said | December 1st 2016 @ 12:37pm | ! Report

              His apologetic claim was that he didnt understand the seriousness of the situation.

              • Roar Guru

                December 1st 2016 @ 12:39pm
                Epiquin said | December 1st 2016 @ 12:39pm | ! Report

                Yeah… plane crashes are usually a pretty light-hearted affair…

          • December 1st 2016 @ 8:55pm
            c said | December 1st 2016 @ 8:55pm | ! Report

            who is “he”

      • December 1st 2016 @ 11:47am
        AR said | December 1st 2016 @ 11:47am | ! Report

        I think Fuss is (a) getting gleefully carried away; and (b) forgetting his own ironic form.

        When the Australian Test XI cancelled a tour to Bangladesh due to specific security concerns from the government about terror plots, Fussball carried on about how “weak” the cricketers were, and conversely, how robust the Socceroos were for going ahead with their scheduled trip some weeks later…or some other such nonsense.

        It was pure Fuss, and about as juvenile as one could get on this issue. Tragically, there actually was a massive terror blast in Bangladesh shortly after the cricketers cancelled their tour.

        It’s an example how ridiculous and petty people can get in their code-war-keyboard natterings.

        • Roar Guru

          December 1st 2016 @ 2:51pm
          Mister Football said | December 1st 2016 @ 2:51pm | ! Report

          Yes, I can recall Fußball ist unser Leben writing that.

          It was one of the stranger moments on the Roar.

          Fußball ist unser Leben was a fierce advocate for soccer on this board and is sorely missed.

      • Roar Guru

        December 1st 2016 @ 11:49am
        Bob Brown said | December 1st 2016 @ 11:49am | ! Report

        Its no joke – its a disgrace.

        It proves how insular, backward and isolated AFL people are.

        Its not about the sports code, its about the ingrained racist, superiority complex that Victorians have, particularly AFL followers.
        They will always treat football and its followers as foreign and inferior, especially when the mainstream media keep feeding the frenzy of seagulls chasing after chips.

        • December 1st 2016 @ 12:45pm
          Perry Bridge said | December 1st 2016 @ 12:45pm | ! Report

          #Bob Brown

          “It proves how insular, backward and isolated AFL people are.”

          What proves this??

          • December 1st 2016 @ 1:09pm
            The Word said | December 1st 2016 @ 1:09pm | ! Report

            Yes, I agree Bob Brown

            If only people stopped making grotesque generalisations about other groups this world would be a better place

          • December 1st 2016 @ 3:24pm
            Correct sometimes said | December 1st 2016 @ 3:24pm | ! Report

            bob – from all the way up there on your high horse you can’t see how hypocritical you are

        • December 1st 2016 @ 1:13pm
          Jack Russell said | December 1st 2016 @ 1:13pm | ! Report

          Well that’s a new one.

          AFL fan = racist

          • December 1st 2016 @ 1:33pm
            Fadida said | December 1st 2016 @ 1:33pm | ! Report

            Boo boo boo boo

        • December 1st 2016 @ 2:01pm
          Mango Jack said | December 1st 2016 @ 2:01pm | ! Report

          No, it doesn’t Bob. It proves nothing more than this comedian, who happens to be from AFL dominated Melbourne, showed appalling lack of judgement in making such a tasteless joke. You are wrong to extrapolate that to generalise about AFL fans.

        • December 1st 2016 @ 2:08pm
          mattq said | December 1st 2016 @ 2:08pm | ! Report

          agree, I can not stand Victorians purely because of the view portrayed by AFL biggots and other Victorian media types.

        • December 1st 2016 @ 2:31pm
          Andy og said | December 1st 2016 @ 2:31pm | ! Report

          What a load of rot.Can you please where the biggest football club in the land hails from.Oh Victoria, that’s right.

        • Roar Guru

          December 1st 2016 @ 3:29pm
          peeeko said | December 1st 2016 @ 3:29pm | ! Report

          Bob, thats a pretty bad generaliztion to make based on the actions of one person.

          • December 2nd 2016 @ 9:01am
            Post_hoc said | December 2nd 2016 @ 9:01am | ! Report

            In defence of Mr Brown (not saying he cant defend himself) but this is also the latest in a fairly long line of vested interest taking a shot.

        • Roar Rookie

          December 2nd 2016 @ 9:24am
          Rainbird said | December 2nd 2016 @ 9:24am | ! Report

          Bob …………’re the disgrace. Roar should change your status from Guru to Vitriolic Bob.
          BTW Guru Bob is a famous comedian on the coodabeen champions, like you – a joke!

      • Roar Pro

        December 2nd 2016 @ 11:19am
        Kasey said | December 2nd 2016 @ 11:19am | ! Report

        Lets not forget that the late Miss Wilson used the tragic death of 96 Liverpool fans in an Opnion piece to reinforce her favourite stick for beating football around the head with.. that all soccer games are barely contained riots with a ball game in the middle. So its not just neve rheard of him comedians looking for 15 minutes of fame. Football fans in this country are sick of being persecuted by Main stream Media identities then having their flunkies on here tell them they are being prescious and paranoid. If you havent walked a mile in our shoes you have no idea how it feels to be made to feel like youre a terrorist simply because you’re attending an A-League match.

        • December 2nd 2016 @ 3:57pm
          Perry Bridge said | December 2nd 2016 @ 3:57pm | ! Report


          So – what’s your point?

          What’s Rebecca Wilson in a published article got to do with a personal tweet from a relatively vague comedian on his own twitter feed.

          Are you trying to excuse something here? Or just letting off a bit of steam?

          • December 3rd 2016 @ 8:07am
            Kasey said | December 3rd 2016 @ 8:07am | ! Report

            #Perry. It goes to “Pattern of behaviour.” Football is far too often the butt of the joke or the insensitive comment. If you’re a football fan you’ve long since stopped making the distinction between a published Opinion Piece from a rabid attack dog of News Limited and the semi regular potshot from a who-dat? looking for 15 seconds of attention.

            It all piles on and as I’ve said before If you’re not emotionally invested in football you cant possibly understand the mindset of having the sport you love ridiculed and marginalised in a seemingly organised manner. Often it feels like the whole Australian sporting commentariat teaming up to refuse to give football a fair go.

            • December 5th 2016 @ 6:32am
              Perry Bridge said | December 5th 2016 @ 6:32am | ! Report


              As a son of European immigrants – whereby soccer was the natural fit for me – I’ve adopted Australian football for me, and while thankfully I live in Victoria, I have to put up with the Sydiots who attack the game (as they have since the 1880s).

              With most of the Australian media based out of Sydney it unfortunately gives a more invested platform to the Sydiots.

              Do I feel sorry for you? Not really.

              Your game has the rest of the world. Console yourself with that.

              My game has spent about 140 of it’s almost 160 years fending off the imported codes.

              re News Ltd – well, I’ve long given up having their papers delivered, simply because their quality of journalism is characterised by an absence of actual journalism.

              I’ve seen News Ltd (The Daily Telegraph) outright lie in Sydney (around the Blacktown funding) simply to whip up anti-AFL sentiment in Rugby League ‘heartland’. I’ve seen News Ltd show total ignorance (or outright lies) when reporting around issues like the AFL illicit drugs policy almost 10 years ago now.

              And a question – since when did anyone get GIVEN a fair go??? Since the 1880s there’s been no ‘fair go’ given to Australian football by the Sydiots.

              And for you Kasey – on a personal level you MUST be able to make the distinction – otherwise you’re no better than those you’re complaining about.

        • December 2nd 2016 @ 5:38pm
          c said | December 2nd 2016 @ 5:38pm | ! Report

          hello kasey succinctly nailed

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