Violence on the pitch

This really has to stop. Sunday in Perth, one footballer struck another footballer in the mouth. It wasn't part of a play. It wasn't related to positioning, as the ball was over 100 metres away from the two of them. I didn't watch it live, but saw the replay last night and was shocked, but not completely. Saturday night I mentioned this to my friend Roger when we were out at the Sydney Cricket Ground watching our beloved Sydney Swans sneak by the Collingwood Magpies. What did I mention? That the roughhousing on the pitch has to stop. The pushing and shoving and swinging and hitting and .... is a mark of something, but it's not sportsmanship. I'm weary of it.

The man on the right, Andrew Gaff of the West Coast Eagles struck 19-year-old first-year player Andrew Bradshaw. Gaff broke his jaw. And several teeth are out of place. And the young abused Andrew will miss several matches. How many will Gaff miss?

What happened? What I see is not jockeying for position. What I see is violence and madness. In professional cricket a player cannot even verbally sledge another, and certainly there's no contact allowed. Golf, tennis, netball, all have limitation on such. There is NONE!

"Aw, let them play" is the cry of fanatics who want the game to have a bit of jumper pulling and elbowing. But what a waste of effort and energy. The last quarter weariness of many highlights the waste that this physical brutality produces.

What is the point of all the pushing and shoving anyway? It's to show dominance. A rainbow lorikeet and a peacock, an orang-utan and a street gang member all are the same. It's showing off to make himself to be bigger. What do we call that in society today? Bullying. That's the problem in schools. That's a problem on the internet. Why do we not see it as a problem on the ground?

Look at the score of the contest at the time of the jaw-breaking. 80 to 36. It's a runaway. There's no need for the brutality. There's no need for the bullying. Gaff didn't need to do this. And he is saying as such today. And he is remorseful-- ok, that's good. I appreciate regret and hope that never happens again.

But what about the next match? What happens next weekend? When will the AFL put a stop to this nonsense bullying? Maybe a red-card system will help. Maybe a 10-minute sin-bin or more. Maybe an ejection of a player immediately. (Gaff was allowed to stay on the ground and play the rest of the game!)

I think it's the bloodthirsty society in which we live, which took the sanitation of Ben Casey and Dr Kildare, or ER and All Saints, and now we see operations on prime time television. We must have blood. Dexter will be light ho-hum fare in the years to come.

Are the networks bullying us?
Is violence our bill of fare from now on?
Will someone stop the madness?

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