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The truth about the value of revenge

Kath Logan Columnist

By Kath Logan, Kath Logan is a Roar Expert


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    Socrates silenced a gossiping student with the Test of Three. Before speaking, the student was invited to test his comments by asking, “Is it true? Is it good? Is it necessary?”

    Anyone with a smartphone, a social media account, and a betrayal-fuelled dose of blind rage can publicly humiliate an ex.

    Revenge porn is no longer the worst of it.

    It takes a special kind of recklessness to put yourself in the firing line by dishing up the full revenge truth extravaganza in the tabloid media.

    The revenge truth circus has been in town the last couple of weeks, with none of it completely true, good or necessary. There’s no point naming names and adding to the sideshow, but the ethics of exploiting deeply private issues – like unplanned pregnancies – for public revenge warrants discussion.

    Background, for those lucky enough to have missed the stories – two seriously dodgy and not very smart rugby league players left themselves wide open to well-deserved public scrutiny when they broke their contracts in multiple ways, multiple times.

    Misbehaviour that affected their ability to do their jobs deserved public dissection. What didn’t was their ex-partners hopping on the media platform to air private matters that were not relevant to the players’ professional, contractual conduct.

    Both relationships ended with the termination of pregnancies and the women involved were justifiably devastated. Taking their stories to the media was never going to ease their hurt and likely made it worse.

    Revenge truth invariably masquerades as an act of conscience, an altruistic act done only to save others from being deceived by the target. It can do serious damage if the target has presented as ethically sound. If he is already ethically bankrupt, the result will be somewhere between nobody really cares and toxic blowback.

    Recounting details of the men’s private, ethical sloth raised more questions than it answered, and not just about the players.

    In one case, the revenge truth as ethical redress collapsed when cash negotiations were revealed. To say it takes $180,000 to get a new baby set up in life is nonsense. To then accept $50,000 for terminating the pregnancy, and then give it to an unnamed charity defies logic.

    In a separate ‘too much information’ story a few months ago, another NRL player’s partner revealed details of a termination that happened in a different context. Her revelation unleashed a storm of particularly vicious trolling with which she is still struggling.

    Revenge truth, too much information, and private-details stories have no place in sports media. Which begs the question – why do they keep running it?

    There are so many things happening in sport that are true, good or necessary to report. Yet they are ignored in favour of stories that tell one person’s version of the truth, won’t do anyone any good and aren’t necessary.

    The real truth? Some sports journalists, and their readers, are no more than small-town gossips.

    Raised in a family of rugby tragics, Kath Logan attended her first rugby test in a baby basket in 1970. Passionate about good people and good communities, she has worked in numerous regional and remote areas where sport has been a powerful force for change. What happens off the field is often more exciting than what happens on it.

    The New South Wales State of Origin team for the 2018 series remains a mystery, with new coach Brad Fittler facing plenty of selection headaches. So we want you to tell us - and all your mates - who should start for Blues in Game 1 with our team picker.

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    The Crowd Says (10)

    • March 21st 2017 @ 8:04am
      kk said | March 21st 2017 @ 8:04am | ! Report

      Beautiful piece of work Kath Logan. Original and intelligent, a pleasure to absorb
      and multiple reads. When you write, the English language comes to life.

      • March 21st 2017 @ 1:23pm
        Shaun said | March 21st 2017 @ 1:23pm | ! Report

        Agree. really well written. These ‘revenge truth’ scenario really have no winners. Everyone always ends up looking like an arsehole

        • Columnist

          March 21st 2017 @ 4:32pm
          Tim Gore said | March 21st 2017 @ 4:32pm | ! Report

          Totally agree. Superb piece.

    • March 21st 2017 @ 8:23am
      Zedman said | March 21st 2017 @ 8:23am | ! Report

      A very good read Kate. Revenge in most forms generally has some hairs attached. Why these people take the filthy lucre from the media to to tell their side of the story has me stumped, they hardly ever come out of it looking good.

    • March 21st 2017 @ 11:02am
      Silvertail47 said | March 21st 2017 @ 11:02am | ! Report

      There’s nothing in this world quite as fulfilling as revenge , if done smart ,done right it’s sweeter than nectar from the Gods ,

    • Roar Guru

      March 21st 2017 @ 11:33am
      Con Scortis said | March 21st 2017 @ 11:33am | ! Report

      Hi Kath, I hope you’re well!

      I normally don’t comment on matters relating to peoples’ personal lives, be they doctors or judges or rugby league players. This is because people are entitled to their privacy (even those in the public eye) and deserve to resolve matters privately, rather than in the public glare.

      Where I do comment is when their personal actions impinge on their ability to do their job or is within the public interest, which is not the case here.

      So I do agree with the central premise of your piece and also agree that no-one comes out looking good. Seeking redress in the tabloid media almost always backfires.

      However, what I find troubling is the way you classify the two recent cases as primarily a woman seeking “revenge”. Certainly revenge may have been part of their motivation, but I think in both instances (especially the more recent one), revenge was one of perhaps several factors that led these women to act as they did.

      In most relationships. what may be called the “power balance” is fairly even. However, I’m sure we all know couples where there is a significant power imbalance, where one partner holds significant sway over their partner and controls their partners’ actions and thoughts.

      It seems that this may be the case here (or may not, we can’t know for sure), in which case classifying these events mainly as women seeking revenge is far too simplistic. When people feel desperate they often do silly things and consequently, I have sympathy for these women.

    • March 21st 2017 @ 12:31pm
      ferret said | March 21st 2017 @ 12:31pm | ! Report

      You had me at “Socrates”..

    • March 21st 2017 @ 1:29pm
      Casper said | March 21st 2017 @ 1:29pm | ! Report

      Good lesson for blokes (mainly) to end a relationship on good terms, something else they need to learn at that NRL education the young guys get. Had these ladies learned from history (of smart women) they might have convinced the ‘protected species’ players to put assets in their names to avoid tax & then walked away with more than they eventually got. Recall the initial Ponting partner who stuck by him in the yobbo times did OK for herself financially when dumped for a new girl. Gotta love it when those sneaky high flyers come unstuck by their own hand.

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