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Opinion

The backlash to Gibbs' send-off is laughable

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Roar Rookie
15th September, 2020
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4156 Reads

Following an episode of Footy Classified that featured on the screens of Channel Nine on Monday night, host Caroline Wilson posed the question in relation to the mentality of Carlton players chairing off Bryce Gibbs.

Despite Carlton losing the match convincingly, critics jumped at the opportunity to publicly condemn the behaviours of Kade Simpson and Marc Murphy.

The traditionalised nature of the post-match farewell assisted by current teammates was abandoned, and rightfully so.

The heartfelt recognition of a celebrated career was an emotional scene for admirers of the game and received copious amounts of unwarranted backlash.

The symbolism of the weekend’s touching moment proved the spirit of the game is still intact, notwithstanding the efforts of Kane Cornes to disband that core value. He labelled the gesture as lacking the killer instinct on Carlton’s behalf.

Sports journalists failed to recognise the strong mateship evidenced in the off-field encounter by commenting on the apparently ludicrous display of affection.

Bryce Gibbs

(Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media/Getty Images)

It was a laughable misinterpretation of how the individuals in this business of AFL are wrongly perceived as AFL players first and human beings second.

It baffles me how anyone can turn a blind eye to the respectful camaraderie observed in the actions that sparked a heated debate.

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Media personalities, headed by Cornes, raised the argument involving Gibbs’ voluntary departure from Carlton three years prior to chase a flag at the Adelaide Crows as the deserving reason not to be chaired off by longstanding teammates affiliated with the opposing side.

However, Gibbs strictly left solely based on family reasons to live closer to home, leaving no merit on their inaccurate judgments to suggest the decision to head interstate was linked with premiership intentions, despite the obvious desire to achieve that feat.

It seemed nothing but a fitting send-off for Gibbs in the arms of two of his loyal friends, but the image astonishingly became shrouded in controversy.

This highlights the media’s ability to pick apart a positive news story and find the bad in something good.

I often side with their beliefs but this old-fashioned view of David Teague’s non-committal approach left me dumbfounded and searching for answers.

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This unnecessary criticism overshadowed not only the honouring of Bryce Gibbs’ glorified career but what should’ve been a picture of mutual respect that showed the belief that the AFL is more than just a game.