22 May 2009

Up there, Slappy

It's amazing how two months can pass in the blink of an eye, when one is up to one's jeans pockets in busy (Melbourne International Comedy Festival, then a month of away games in my case). However, it is time to give qualified Slapcatchers the reward they have earned, starting with a trip into Melbourne's sporting heart - clearly bypassing the brain entirely. Join me as we distribute the digits to...

James Brayshaw.

The AFL held its annual Hall Of Fame ceremony this week, and Brayshaw - co-host of the Footy Show, and chairman of the North Melbourne Football Club - has had strong words about the fact that Wayne Carey, for the second year since becoming eligible, was overlooked. One slight look at broader context, however, would probably deliver a much-needed clue.

Wayne Carey was a brilliant and talented footballer, whose attitude and behaviour towards women has been as appropriate as a rifle range in a primary school. From random boob-grabs all the way to more recent glass swinging, memories of Carey's undeniable skill on field have been permanently handcuffed to stupidity and lack of impulse control off iCheck Spellingt. Apart from the fact that behaviour has always been a factor in deciding who gets the Hall of Fame nod, hasn't Brayshaw read a newspaper lately?

The highest-profile sports story for the last fortnight has been sexual scandal attached to rugby league, and has been just the most recent in a sequence as long and ugly as a parade of hairless cats. The NRL is trying to change its culture, or at least the perception of its culture, to have women feel a little more secure than a carcass at a vulture convention, and it's requiring some work at the fundamentals - rugby players have it ingrained that they are indestructible, and that "can't" isn't part of their equation; getting them familiar with the idea of "shouldn't" is an idea that has only recently arrived, and is proving tricky to enact. The AFL have had their own fun with players sliding the brain in neutral and the ego into overdrive, while not as constant or as dramatic as in League, and so as we try to change the attitudes of the young men who get buckets of money to play these sports, and the younger people who look up to them, Brayshaw should see beyond the Kangaroos' collective navel, and figure out without so much noise that now is not the time for Wayne's ascension.

Wayne Carey will be a member of the AFL Hall of Fame. If he has gone through the personal transformation that he has claimed in recent times, he could well be the poster boy for reforming the attitudes and images that are plaguing our most public winter sportsmen. But as one of the game's most influential figures, by his television job and club presidency, James Brayshaw should have looked around a bit before getting all foot-stampy. So, for not leaving the mouth-before-mind approach to Sam Newman (it's what he's there for, after all)...


Link: North incensed as Carey misses out again

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