Melbourne will unfurl their premiership flag when they host the Western Bulldogs in the 2022 AFL season opener to kick off a March football feast in Victoria.
The debate concerning sledging on and around the sports field continues. In the perfect world there would be no sledging.
We don’t live in a perfect world and the reality is that since mankind has walked upright on two legs and entered into competitive activities against one another, there has always been attempts to bend the rules and take any psychological advantage that can be gained.
Sledging is one of those behaviours.
Sledging was occurring on a regular basis long before a chubby Shane Warne greeted his South African ‘rabbit’, Daryll Cullinan arrival at the crease with: “I’ve been waiting two years for another chance to humiliate you”.
Cullinan replied “Looks like you spent it eating”.
What we call racism in sport is simply a form of sledging and I see little difference between someone calling another player weak and commenting on someone’s racial background.
They are as bad as one another and are simply un-acceptable. Banning microphones on the field to prevent any such comment reaching the ears of the general public will not stop it from happening. It will simply mean that the fans won’t hear it.
The evidence suggests that, in this politically correct world, comments such as above, are assessed at significantly different levels.
Sure, the AFL contacted GWS concerning Heath Shaw’s sledge on Tom Papley, but upon Shaw’s apology, the AFL chose to take no further action.
I very much doubt that it would have been left there if the sledge had involved a comment in relation to the race or background of the opponent.
Those hearing such remarks, in today’s world, hopefully recognise that, be they players or spectators, they are coming from ignorant, insensitive and stupid people. Education is the only answer.