LAST week Discord was rightly criticised for posting yet another column on the Origin I biff, a couple of readers pointing out that they’d already read much more than enough on the subject.
But sometimes, when the current debate on a footy-relate issue seems to be missing something, Discord feels a duty to point out the elephants in the room. So we’ll do that regarding recent events and move straight on to something else.
The first elephant is not in any way highlighted as an excuse for some of the boorish behaviour we have seen over the last week… but it is a major contributing facotr and has been completely overlooked for some mystifying reason.
It’s hormones. While columns like this love to point out that players have limited careers and should learn to stay indoors and out of trouble, to the players the limited time span is a reason to go out. They’ll only be this fit, this famous, this single and this good looking – all at once – for less than a decade and there are plenty of wild oats to sow in that time.
To a 23-year-old, there is a fear that if you don’t take advantage of these unique circumstances, you’ll regret it in your old age. The jealousy of your contemporaries can be over-powering. Of course, getting in trouble creates even bigger regrets … but that may not happen … so it seems worth the gamble.
To Blake Ferguson and Josh Dugan, NOT going out on Sunday night would have seemed a terrible, tragic waste of an opportunity.
Secondly – and I will use this as an excuse for the Mal Meninga ‘incident’ – how easy is it to be refused service or even entry to a pub these days? I’m sure many readers have been refused entry in Sydney when they have not had a single drink, just because the guys on the door don’t like the look of their eyes as a result of some training course they did.
I have been refused service, or entry, in licensed establishments at least 20 times. I probably deserved it on more than half those occasions but I have never done anything more anti social than drop a glass on the floor.
It’s easy to understand why Mal would feel aggrieved that every daily newspaper saw fit to put his transgression on the back page today. But footballers (and their coaches) are really just reality TV stars these days. Without television, they’d be amateur or part time.
Bluntly, the media machine sees them as merely being there for our amusement, offering us two-dimensional pulp morality tales with everything they do.
So they get treated the same as reality TV stars. If Joel Madden was in town to promote a record, his little dope stash would get less space than if he was judging a massive talent show, publicity for which has been deliberately whipped up by a television network.
Same with Mal. If he is asked to leave the local pub in Redcliffe in November, it would be lucky to rate a paragraph in a gossip column. But Origin is the best rating piece of reality television in Australia.
If the players thought of it more like The Voice, they might understand a little better the way the gossip-obsessed mainstream media treats it.
OK, onto something else.
FOR the record, your correspondent was only joking on Monday when he described Daniel Anderson’s trip to the NHL “bunker” as a junket.
Of course, it’s a good idea for the NRL referees’ boss to drop in on the way back from the World Cup. We were just making the point that commercial radio stations have already set up similar facilities in this country which would be worth checking out.
Of course, commercial radio stations don’t need to communicate with referees and touch judges. And they often have communication breakdowns with their people at the ground which would be disastrous for match officials.
COMMENTS now, and I’ll go through everything written on the bottom of a story on leaguehq.com.au or stevemascord.com for the last week.