By STEVE MASCORD
THE new NRL logo makes Discord‘s blood boil – but luckily other aspects of the strategic plan announcement calm us down a little bit.
We all had our hopes for the ARL Commission. My biggest was that we would have an inclusive, outward looking organisation which accepted its role to lead the game globally in much the same way the MLB, NFL and NBA do in the States and the AFL does here.
These are organisations who tirelessly push their brands as flagships in new markets, value new converts highly and do their bests to distance themselves from parochialism and geographic limitations.
The AFL props up expansion teams to the detriment of those in Melbourne, has played many exhibition games overseas and worked hard to foster links with gaelic football. Like the NFL, they ARE the international governing bodies for their sports.
The NBA and MLB are just better resourced than their sports’ international governing bodies. They could wash their hands of all but domestic matters but instead they do the heavy lifting to spread the gospel – on a grand scale – because their massive TV and sponsorship incomes allow them to. (yes, the NFL logo does feature stars and stripes – but all their franchises are within the US)
Instead of taking this path, the commission has gone in exactly the opposite direction by removing the black-and-white recognition of the New Zealand market from their logo and puting every jingoistic Australianism on their new commercial symbol but a meatpie and a holden car.
It is so parochial they’ve had to do another one for the Warriors! What use is a new logo that instantly requires you to design another one? John Grant reads out the Australian team, the commissioners go to Tests in green-and-gold ties and only visit the Australian sheds, not the Kiwis.
It’s embarassing. When you think premier league, do you think the England team? No, you think of a cosmopolitan competition which brings together players from around the world, contributing to dozens of national teams.
Maybe the old NRL administration was cumbersome but at least the separation of “church and state” – club and country – at Fox Studios was dignified and professional. David Gallop once described the Warriors as the “jewel in the crown”.
Now they’re not even a pixel on the logo.
Remember when the Broncos had to run around with a big blue NSWRL logo on their chests? That was seen as a symbol of Sydney-centric administration and the likes of John Quayle and Ken Arthurson had the good sense to rename the competition the ARL – with a minimum of fuss. Again, we have seen regression.
Luckily, the commission did tick a few boxes by putting its balls on the line when it came to aims for 2017. I can’t remember a rugby league administration that has been as specific in its aims anywhere, ever.
So full credit for that.
But my fear is that in this country – particularly in sport – we are too quick to hoist the national colours in tokenistic gestures and too slow to accept that our achievements and resources carry responsibilities towards everyone else who plays those sports.
Responsibilities that go beyond just beating them.
The Americans have no trouble understanding this. In Oz, we tend to be good underdogs – but very bad leaders.
APOLOGIES for the late appearance of the 41st Discord for 2012. From Hawaii to Vegas to Hull in the space of a week was always going to do some doing and with other deadlines pressing, I just didn’t get around to it until now.