By: Morgan Benson
While working on my radio bulletin for the Triple R midday news, I was assigned the task of covering the AFL’s most recent sex scandal that was breaking on Wednesday morning. This time it allegedly involved two Saints players and an underage girl, who affirmed that she had fallen pregnant after having sex with one or both of the players.
In the wake of the sports constant sex, drugs and booze scandals, my immediate reaction to this story was that it was just another stupid incident involving these increasingly stupid athletes. However, as the story progressed, I realised this time was different and that maybe I was wrong to have passed judgement on these two sportsman as quickly as I had.
The media storm that constantly surrounds the actions of Brendon Fevola, the over-kill of the NRL group sex scandal, involving prominent figure Matthew Johns, has come dangerously close to instilling in the public an unfairly bias image towards the entire population of footy players. The idea that the entire code and all those involved subscribe to a misogynistic, drug fuelled binge culture is not only false, but it is outrageously unfair.
Admittedly, I too have fallen victim to passing judgement on AFL players, feigning moral superiority in the comfortable anonymity of my non-public lifestyle. However, when looking a little bit closer and reflecting upon the number of issues concerning AFL players, in comparison to the positive aspects of their profile, it is hard for me to adopt any moral hierarchy on any AFL player. Nor could many people for that matter.
AFL players donate a great deal of time to charity, such as last years bushfire appeal charity match. As professional athletes, during the season it would be almost impossible for any one of them to maintain a boozing and binging culture, a culture that dominates many an average citizens weekend routine. At times unfortunately, the media seem to enjoy the selling point of a scandal, rather than the football itself and the positive endeavors of these public figures. Thankfully, journalists like Mike Sheahan are still offering a rational opinion, such as his report in yesterdays Herald Sun.
It’s a needle among a haystack unfortunately, as the media continues to suffer more and more from its penchant for tall-poppies trimming. The danger here is the flow-on effect this has on public opinion and the danger of this distorting any reasonable perception of footy players.