I was a Bulldog once. But these dopes have let me down
I was born a Bulldog.
In 1982, Canterbury legend Steve Mortimer happened to be visiting my mum’s maternity hospital on the day I was born. My brother, a 9 year old Bulldogs fan, came to meet his new baby brother, and was decked head-to-toe in blue and white: jersey, shorts and socks. Mortimer heard about it and gave him a Bulldogs stick-pin to remember the day. I think he’s still got it. With a start like that, I had no choice, I was a Bulldog too.
Growing up, we spent plenty of Saturdays and Sundays watching the Bulldogs from the hill at Belmore. As a six-year-old I was beside myself when Canterbury won the Grand Final in 1988. I treasured the VHS tape of that game and watched it over and over I can still remember the tryscorers: Glen Nissen, Michael Hagan, Terry Lamb and David Gillespie.
But my support over the years was tested, and how couldn’t it be? Coffs Harbour, the salary cap, misbehaving players and fans. A few years ago, I walked away and haven’t been to a Bulldogs game since.
This year though, I thought things might finally have changed. Former star Hazem el Masri was awarded an honorary PhD for his outstanding community work. Fans were praised for their good behaviour.
The club was making news on the sports pages, not the front pages. For old times sake, I even wore my jersey on Grand Final day. On the bandwagon? Perhaps. But only because I thought things might finally be different.
I was wrong.
On Monday, one of my good friends, Jayne Azzopardi, a reporter from Channel Nine, was reporting from the club the day after the Grand Final. The team’s Mad Monday celebrations were underway. From the anonymity of a window above, she was told among other things to “Suck me off you dumb dog”. Also from inside, “There are some ladies here to stick their heads in your pants”. An absolute disgrace.
An investigation’s underway to determine who made the comments. A player? An official? Whoever it was, it was from inside the Bulldogs base camp, easily heard through an open window.
I was disgusted yesterday to read the comments of the boss of Bulldogs sponsor, Jaycar. “They would have had to use electronic augmentation to even pick that up,” Gary Johnston is reported as saying.
Jaycar sells electronics. The boss should know that even really good microphones can’t record the words “Suck me off you dumb dog”, if no one says it in the first place.
At any rate, the recording was made in a public place, and the comments could be heard by anyone nearby. In fact, a window was opened so that the comments could be yelled. They were recorded with normal camera gear. No tricks.
Jayne Azzopardi is a decent person, a thoroughly professional reporter and an ethical journalist. She’s highly experienced, has reported from around the globe and has been a member of the Federal Parliamentary press gallery.
But she’s a woman. She wouldn’t have received the same sexist abuse if she was a man. That makes me sick.
What I’ve learned about women’s right to equality is that it can’t be a fight for women alone.
When decent blokes see and hear abuse like this, they need to speak up against it, or in my view, they cease to be decent blokes.
I’m speaking up today, not just for my friend and colleague, who I know is capable of handling herself. I’m speaking up for every woman that puts up with comments like this, and worse, every single day. They need to know that they have supporters who will join them in holding to account anyone who thinks that being vile and degrading is acceptable.
It’s unacceptable at a worksite. It’s unacceptable in a boardroom. It’s unacceptable at a footy team’s end of season function.
The Club’s boss, Todd Greenberg is investigating and has apologised. The person who made the comments, for now, still hasn’t.
I may have been born a Bulldog. But I’m not one anymore.
Comments on this post close at 8pm AEST.
Read all about it
Up to the minute Twitter chatter
The latest and greatest
Good morning Punchers. After four years of excellent fun and great conversation, this is the final post…
I have had some close calls, one that involved what looked to me like an AK47 pointed my way, followed…
In a world in which there are still people who subscribe to the vile notion that certain victims of sexual…