Gruesome footy footage is hardly family friendly
Injuries won’t be stopped in football. Can’t. What can be stopped is the endless supply of car-crash type atrocities rammed down our throats for days on end.
It can be stopped right now. Can you remember a weekend so horrific?
The gory scene of Geelong’s Joel Selwood, body limp, arm stiff and blood trickling out of the side of his mouth, was a Pink Floyd song away from being a Scorsese movie.
Newcastle Knights forward Richard Fa’aoso and Mitch Clark from the Brisbane Lions stumbling around like cockroaches peppered with Mortein, a photo of Lions star Jonathan Brown resembling a victim from Australia’s Most Wanted, Wests Tigers centre Chris Lawrence turned like a twist top. It doesn’t let up.
Oh, and all in super-slo-mo-Dolby-surround-sound-high-definition-and-here’s-a-replay-from-the-reverse-angle.
It’s simply hurting football. The beauty of the pre-season television advertising campaigns is the violence is celebrated, never injurious. A dozen shoulder charges and shirtfronts with no penitence.
If only live football could be so fashioned.
The moral decorum of preventing distasteful replays cannot be left in the hands of television networks. They’re not exactly the bastions of taste and decency. The governing bodies of the major sports need to step up.
AFL already has a policy of allowing the host broadcaster to play just one replay of an incident reported by an umpire. From that point the moment of contact virtually disappears into the ether. The most menial clip to the ribs can be red-carded, yet broken bones and snapped ligaments are open season.
How can a ban on violent replays be implemented? Simple. Each game is assigned an official by the governing body, who watches the game on television (it’s not as if an official wouldn’t be watching the match anyway) and immediately announces a red flag when a clearly unsightly incident occurs.
The red flag is sent via a group-all email to every media outlet in the country, with a clear warning: Play this on-air and every accreditation pass in your organisation is instantly revoked.
Trust me, it would work.
Of the horror clips, from Brown to Selwood to Fa’aoso to Lawrence to Waite, ask yourself this: How many incidents did you see in the game broadcast, and how many did you see on a highlights show or a news clip?
The immediacy of live sport is its beauty. The unpredictable, the unscripted drama. Injuries are an unavoidable hazard and in the heat of the moment, an aphrodisiac for bloodthirsty fans.
But kill the replays and you save a lot of mums from being killed off from football.
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