When the ball tampering story broke at some point over the last fortnight I had mixed reactions. I’m a sports fan at heart and have spent many a summer in front of the TV cheering on as many athletes as I can get my head around. Initially, I’ll admit, I was heartbroken. There’s a certain passion associated with sport, especially for Australians, and we take every indiscretion to heart. Or do we?
It wasn’t until I (barely) sat through the press conference where Steve Smith was reduced to tears, that everything finally hit home. The backlash the three players involved received, especially on social media, just seems a little excessive and extreme given the nature of the whole shebang yeah? The more I think about it, the more I want to know, why the double standard? How can we crucify Steve Smith and co, with the Australian public calling for life bans and the like, but let violent mean like say Mathew Lodge be welcomed with open arms by the code of choice and have their actions be labelled as just a bit of a f**k up on the day, #lihtandbreezy no big deal.
I’m in no way justifying the actions of Smith, Warner and Bancroft (just a side note I’m pretty sure the full story is yet to be revealed to the mass media), but what I am saying is, where is the line? Newcastle’s own Joey Johns, the man the legend the immortal, was dropped by the Kangaroos in 2007 for drug related offences. I mean, the guy skated shirtless and out of his mind down King Street and all we can say is yeah the boys. Is it simply because, we can’t pinpoint the ball tampering scandal a simple act of individual indiscretion? That for some reason the Australian public are willing to forgive the likes of Brendan Fevola, Greg Bird, Mitchell Pearce, and I mean come on, we didn’t even give the Chappell brothers this much grief, but we are so quick to label the ball tampering scandal as a quote unquote national day of shame.
Do we give our footballers and other athletes grace when they assault women, are convicted of drug offences, or slurp on their own urine because we expect them to be brutes on the field? Every single time an NRL player, a soccer player, or any other code for that matter gets a scandalous mention in the media, there is always someone coming out to defend the ridiculous actions of the individual as a minor and out of character indiscretion, yet we have labelled the three cricketers involved in the ball tampering incident as our biggest national shame. Like, come on.
Think of this as an official callout to all you keyboard warriors (actually if you want an active definition of national shame check out the comment section under any social media post about cricket lately). If this is the standard we are setting for all athlete indiscretions why not call for public justice against the NRL player who glasses his girlfriend in the face during an argument and make sure they are held just as accountable fort heir actions. Like maybe not let big sporting bosses sweep such scandals under the rug or have them be labelled as “a drunken mistake”. It’s all relative right?
Like I said, I am not defending the actions of those involved and I am assuming more information will slowly trickle through the media cycle in the coming weeks, ball tampering is cheating and I’ll be the first to characterise their actions as unAustralian, but our biggest national shame? It just doesn’t ring true to be to be fair.