The problem with 400m runner John Steffensen is that he’s modelled himself on Anthony Mundine. He’d be better off acting like a man instead of “The Man”, and copping his selection omission on the chin.

He's got the body, but not the body of evidence. Pic: Gregg Porteous

When Mundine switched from rugby league to boxing, he claimed league selectors wouldn’t pick him in representative teams because of the colour of his skin. That line was always ridiculous given the numerous dark-skinned players in rep teams at the time.

John Steffensen peddled a similar load of garbage this weekend, accusing Athletics Australia of racism after their failure to pick him for the individual 400m event in London, even though he’s still in the relay. It was a rant as hollow and unbalanced as anything Mundine ever delivered.

A quick recap, for those who missed the lead-up. John Steffensen hasn’t run an “A” qualifying time this year, which would likely have guaranteed an individual London 400m berth. Neither has anyone else in Australia.

That meant Athletics Australia was entitled to select just one 400m athlete who’d run a slightly slower “B” qualifier. So it did just that.

The athlete it chose wasn’t John Steffensen. Instead, it was national 400m champion Steve Solomon. Not only is 19 year old Solomon the national titleholder, he has also run a faster time than Steffensen this year, partly because Steffensen injured himself at the Stawell Gift.

Quite possibly Steffensen is still the stronger athlete. All the same, AA considers Solomon a serious long term prospect well worth blooding in London. And since this decision was what’s known as a “discretionary selection”, it was all, on paper at least, perfectly above board.

Athletics Australia’s selection policies this year have in truth been the proverbial dog’s breakfast. US-based Queensland Steeplechaser Genevieve LaCaze ran an A qualifier, mystifyingly didn’t get picked, then eventually did get picked due to public pressure and AOC intervention. It was high farce.

Change is needed at AA, and Steffensen and his fellow athletes probably deserve the cleanout Steffensen has long campaigned for. But it’s a leap of Steve Hooker proportions to say that an inept body is a racist body.

Maybe John Steffensen should talk to Patrick Johnson, Josh Ross, Nova Peris-Kneebone and a woman called Catherine Freeman who both literally and figuratively lit up the track at Sydney.

He of all people should also know that selections are habitually messy in athletics. For a number of reasons, it is simply not practical for the sport to adopt swimming’s elegantly simple selection process of first-past-the-post at the national trials.

Steffensen apparently received moral support from former indigenous hurdler Kyle Vander Kuyp after his appearance on Nine. Maybe they could both shed some light on this issue, so to speak. If barriers to selection do exist for indigenous athletes, the public deserves to hear some specifics.

Here’s a sample of what Steffensen told Channel Nine on Saturday:

“I don’t think [Solomon’s selection] helps the legitimacy of our sport or the selection criteria, and I think it only makes our sport look stupid. The rules and the goalposts are getting shifted. Now they’re going to pick who they want to put in the team.

“I’ve put up with being racially vilified by this federation, being discriminated against on many teams.

“...You think I waste my time running at training for fun? For this? “No, they can have athletics. I don’t need to do this no more

“…You know it would help if I was a different colour. A lot of my decisions with my federation would be totally different.

“But I’ve never brought that up. I’ve always kept quiet on that. Because people aren’t really going to want to hear that sort of stuff.”

Steffensen is way out of whack in that last line. If discrimination is real, then you betcha, people absolutely would like to hear about it.

Look at the outcry earlier this year when an AFL recruiter suggested some clubs are avoiding players of Aboriginal heritage. Plenty of people got extremely angry when they heard that. Those same people, and plenty more, would get right behind Steffensen with a full head of righteous steam if he came up with even a skerrick of hard evidence.

So how about it, John? Or is this all bluster in the great Mundine tradition?

Now 30, Steffensen has been a fine athlete for some time. I was fortunate enough to be trackside in Athens in 2004 on the final evening of Olympic track competition, when Steffensen led Australia off in the 4x400m relay en route to an unexpected silver medal. Steffensen finished his lap in 7th place, as each member of the Aussie team clawed back their share of ground.

The following year, Steffensen made the 2005 World Championships final. He also won dual Commonwealth gold in Melbourne, before boycotting Delhi after yet more argy bargy with Athletics Australia.

The bottom line is that Steffensen has been and still is a world class athlete. But he is not quite a world-beating athlete. AA has used its discretionary selection to pick a young guy in Steve Solomon who might one day reach that extra level.

By the way, young Solomon is reportedly Jewish. You somehow get the feeling he wouldn’t be calling AA a pack of anti-Semites had he missed selection for an individual 400m berth in London.

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94 comments

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    • nihonin says:

      06:22am | 16/07/12

      I know the only reason the Punch publishes any of my comments is due to my Aboriginal Heritage, bastards wink

    • Admiral Ackbar says:

      12:40pm | 16/07/12

      Mine get through because I’m one sixteenth Navajo, and one quarter lesbian.

    • M says:

      01:20pm | 16/07/12

      Admiral, I feel for you, really I do. For I too, am a lesbian trapped in a man’s body.

    • Admiral Ackbar says:

      01:45pm | 16/07/12

      Although the intention of my comment was to put a light hearted spin on nihonins own post after someone (P Walker, if that is your real name) got a bit carried away and completely missed the point, I believe our special group of man lesbians requires a club. A very exclusive, in no way sexist, and not weird at all club / support group.

    • M says:

      01:52pm | 16/07/12

      I’ll bring the scones, you bring the tea.

    • stephen says:

      06:38pm | 16/07/12

      The Admiral eats muffins, not scones.

    • P. Walker says:

      07:07am | 16/07/12

      ...and they could easily remove you, or perhaps then you’d call them racists?  Move on in life nihonin as a human instead of a pigeon holed individual looking for sympathy.
      Do you remind your kids of past brutalities to instill hatred, ensuring they cannot move forward?

    • Nick says:

      07:25am | 16/07/12

      Talk about missing the point

    • marley says:

      07:27am | 16/07/12

      Did someone get up on the wrong side of the bed this morning?  See the little smiley thing beside Nihonin’s comment?  It’s not there just to finish the sentence.

    • Michael says:

      07:34am | 16/07/12

      I think he was joking, no?

    • nihonin says:

      07:43am | 16/07/12

      ‘Do you remind your kids of past brutalities to instill hatred, ensuring they cannot move forward?’

      Seems I’ve rubbed a bigot the wrong way, P. Walker, thanks for the advice, take some of it yourself, move on and get over yourself.  Sorry to disappoint you, but I don’t use my heritage as an excuse, everything I have, I’ve earnt. 

      Besides if you look at my comment with both eyes, you will see it was meant jokingly and reversing the usual ‘I’m discriminated against because I’m Aboriginal’ rhetoric.

    • nihonin says:

      07:53am | 16/07/12

      Michael, yes I was joking.

    • Sickemrex says:

      08:07am | 16/07/12

      Somebody didn’t take their irony supplements this morning.

    • Sickemrex says:

      08:08am | 16/07/12

      Somebody didn’t take their irony supplements this morning.

    • Sue says:

      10:46am | 16/07/12

      Looking ast the comments to your blog nihonin, it reminds me of he two students in my tutorial group who swore that the lecturer was racist because when they went to see him he didn’t open the door. When I asked if that had called to announce who they were or if they had checked that the time was allocated to consultation with the lecturer or if the lecturer could see them, I was told “no”. So the next question was “no people of your ethnic background knock omn doors any differently to Australians?”
      That race card is used too frequently when commonsense and personal integrity would have best been served up.

    • nihonin says:

      11:21am | 16/07/12

      Agree Sue, usually the person calling racist on another person is the racist themselves.

    • Dieter Moeckel says:

      12:39pm | 16/07/12

      If your camp out in Arnhem Land and lay a spear across the track that leads to your camp it tells visitors you don’t want company. A closed door and a no reply means the same - it applies to everyone.
      So if person A is on the other side of the spears it’s racism but if B is on the other side its not ...

    • Leah says:

      01:11pm | 16/07/12

      Nihonin was clearly being sarcastic, P Walker.

    • P. Walker says:

      04:30pm | 16/07/12

      @Leah , thanks, I never saw him as a sarcastic person, but will look out for that in future posts.

      ...and apologies to those who fell on the floor cracking your skulls wink

    • nihonin says:

      06:26pm | 16/07/12

      P. Walker ‘I never saw him as a sarcastic person, but will look out for that in future posts.’

      Only do it when I feel something needs to be pointed for the obvious crap it is.  No hard feelings.

      Cheers

    • KH says:

      07:11am | 16/07/12

      The LaCaze case really was a joke - at the time, we had no representative in steeple chase, so its not like anyone got picked over her - she was displacing no one - ridiculous.  Then there is the equestrian fiasco where a rich dudes family gets picked over someone who has performed better when it counts.  I feel sorry for athletes who put in all the training and have had past results but are then subject to the ‘discretionary choice’ of the governing body who then give intangible reasons for their choice, but that is the way it is.  The only sure way to get selected in the individual event was to run an A qualifier.  No one did, so they decided to expose a younger person to this competition in the belief that in the next couple of Olympics he will be much improved - that is fair enough.  Steffenson has had his chances, and now he has to face the reality that at 30, his athletics career is coming to an end.

    • Greg says:

      09:25am | 16/07/12

      AA seriously dropped the ball with this one and it’s good that they eventually righted the situation, but people must realise that the only reason the LaCaze issue got so much attention is because she is smoking hot

    • marley says:

      12:34pm | 16/07/12

      @Greg - and smoking quick, too.

    • Fiddler says:

      07:26am | 16/07/12

      the problem is that things like this article should be said to his face. If someone claimed that an aboriginal was selected in front of them for their race they would be crucified. This article is a good start though.

      AA should have come out a lot stronger, even done a press conference and called him a racist whinging idiot. He needs them more than they need him.

    • nihonin says:

      07:52am | 16/07/12

      ‘AA should have come out a lot stronger, even done a press conference and called him a racist whinging idiot. He needs them more than they need him.’

      Reverse racism, the fall back of the whinging loser or the incompetent, cause they didn’t get what they believed they deserved.  This is one of the lowest forms of racism in my book, basing your loss of a spot in the team on your heritage, shame John Steffersen.

    • Macca says:

      07:45am | 16/07/12

      I’m beginning to think that athletes who spend every day training on their own for a single event every 4 years might suffer from inflated egos and a loose grip on reality.

      Although the lack of credibility amongst some of the administrators is equally baffling.

    • Josh says:

      08:03am | 16/07/12

      I am pretty sure Steffenson’s main argument beforethe bringing the cultural references was essentially,  I didn’t make the qualifying time, neither did the other guy; so Australia doesn’t get a qualifier in the individual 400m.

      That’s a fair point.

      John’s issue is he is not an easy individual to like. If he left it at that people might say, good point. To then get all Ali G about it, is an easy cop out. Where the real issues may in fact lay somewhere else.

      To be completely fair to him Australian sport isn’t going to miss him.

    • Greg says:

      09:33am | 16/07/12

      haha the Ali G line cracked me up.

      ‘Is it cause I is black?’ No Jon it’s because you is slow

      Everyone now days is so quick to jump on the racist bandwagon to try and make excuses for their own shortcomings.  This should be a non issue, we get one runner in the individual 400m and AA picked the faster younger bloke, even if they ad run the exact same time they should of still picked the younger bloke.  But the ungrateful loser decided to play the race card.

      If he put as much time into running faster as he does to sooking over his career he would be one of the all time greats

    • Mahhrat says:

      08:05am | 16/07/12

      The unfortunate truth of his comments is he does more damage to the cause of indigenous affairs in Australia.  People actually trying to address race issues in this country must be pulling at their hair.

    • Fiddler says:

      08:40am | 16/07/12

      what race issues actually exist? Sick to death of the liberal guilt. I deal with aboriginal communities every day and have yet to see one of them in a problem that they hadn’t either caused themselves or their family had.

      I have however seen plenty of benefits such as full scholarships awarded to allegedly aboriginals who perform moderately well and probably wouldn’t gain an acceptance let alone funding had they not claimed their race.

      We need to just shoot down anyone who claims race without outright details or proof. Calling race is a trump card in many peoples minds

    • Ben says:

      01:32pm | 16/07/12

      @fiddler - well said

    • M says:

      01:51pm | 16/07/12

      See, the people I see setting back the cause of indigenous affairs are like the woman who yelled at me on saturday night.

      ““Gib a smoke ya whaite c***”

      So get stuffed with your liberal guilt.

    • rod sexton says:

      08:29am | 16/07/12

      This is the same John Steffensen who boycotted the Commonwealth Games in 2010 after many disputes with Athletics Australia; ‘nuff said.

    • Fiddler says:

      08:51am | 16/07/12

      I think that he is being discriminated against for being a douchebag. Surely the douchebag vilification act prevents this

    • Daniel says:

      08:45am | 16/07/12

      Here we go again with the “harden up” News Ltd attitude.

    • marley says:

      09:03am | 16/07/12

      Well, I watched Steffanson’s little rant in a clip on TV and my immediate reaction was - for god’s sake, get real, man. Two guys didn’t do a qualifying time, one is over the hill, the other is on the cusp, who the heck do you think should be chosen?  He’s just the male equivalent of Tamsyn Lewis whatever her name is, and it has nothing at all to do with the colour of his skin.

    • embee says:

      08:47am | 16/07/12

      Steffenson isn’t indigenous ...his parents are from South Africa

    • Colmac says:

      02:12pm | 16/07/12

      One can only wonder why he would present himself as indigenous?
      Am I being too cynical?

    • Tim says:

      02:37pm | 16/07/12

      I don’t recall him ever saying he was indigenous?

    • Susan says:

      04:19pm | 16/07/12

      Tim, I think it’s arisen as a misconception.  I just Googled and found a couple of journalist’s articles referring to him as Aboriginal.  It’s people who’ve commented who have corrected the error so I think it’s been partly a media mistake.

      Btw, in my search I note he was asked to be on Dancing With the Stars this year but he turned it down because of track commitments.  But he may do it in 2013.  Not sure why I am explaining this…but it’s just..quirky.

    • NGS says:

      08:49am | 16/07/12

      If there wasn’t this overriding obsession to win a medal at all costs, management would be able to cut off these prima donnas at the knees and everyone would be much happier. Australian sport has far too many self obsessed personalities and their arrogance demeans us all

    • Susan says:

      09:08am | 16/07/12

      I’m interested in the “act like a man” phrase.  I quipped about “manning up” some weeks ago and a few Punchers indicated they find that phrase either offensive or simply off.  I’m therefore interested to see a male use it and so far no comment about the phrase.  I’m not personally complaining about that previous critique or anything….I’m just interested in language and how people respond to it.

    • Mahhrat says:

      09:20am | 16/07/12

      @Susan, you’re right, but I was waiting to see if anyone else picked up on it.

      The term is offensive, in that it suggests he should be an “ideal” of a man at all times.  Nobody is that perfect.

    • marley says:

      09:35am | 16/07/12

      Interesting. I guess I missed the conversation about “manning up.” 

      In the context of this particular article, I took the “act like a man” comment to be along the lines of “act like an adult” rather than anything gender-specific.  And in that sense, I agree entirely with Ant’s viewpoint.  It’s one thing for eight-year-olds to whinge and whine about not being selected for the first team;  it’s another to see a 31-year old do it.

    • VVS says:

      09:36am | 16/07/12

      I have no problem with the phrase, and use it myself occasionally. It is the same as “harden the f*ck up”.

      However I can see how women might not like the phrase, as it may imply that by not acting like a man he is acting like a woman. And it is women who whinge etc

      I don’t see it that way. I see it as him acting like a boy/child and not an adult.

    • Tim says:

      09:36am | 16/07/12

      Susan,
      the author didn’t use the phrase “man up”.
      He used the term “act like a man” so he could make a comparison with “The Man” Mundine.
      Not even close to being the same.

    • Susan says:

      09:48am | 16/07/12

      @Tim. I never said he said “man up” but I presumed the phrases were similar.  You say they’re not the same. But clearly some here think they are.  That’s why I raised it, for discussion.

      In the previous incident I was responding to a male poster and at the end I said something like “and man up!” and various male posters took exception to the phrase. They agreed with my entire post but didn’t like me using the phrase.  I meant it light-heartedly but I took the reaction on board.

      So, I thought “act like a man” wasn’t that different to saying “man-up”.  I don’t think they are that different but, once again, Tim doesn’t think they’re the same. Mahhrat finds both offensive. VVS doesn’t mind and nor does Marley in the context.

      It’s just a discussion.  No rights nor wrongs.

    • Tim says:

      11:02am | 16/07/12

      Susan,
      I think you need to look at the context of usage.

      Sharwood has used the phrase “act like a man” so he can make a silly comparison to Anthony Mundine “The Man”, which is why I don’t think it’s that bad, just a bit lazy. I think he was simply saying that he needs to act like an adult.

      If he had simply said that Steffensen needs to accept his omission and “act like a man” then I would have agreed that it was a bit off.

    • Susan says:

      11:39am | 16/07/12

      @Tim… hmmm…fine lines I guess. I went up and read again:

      “He’d be better off acting like a man instead of “The Man”, and copping his selection omission on the chin.”

      I think this is precisely within your latter zone of concern however, it falls within both areas really and is in the interpretation of the beholder I guess.

      I was just interested to see if it bugged people and..in the main..no it doesn’t (given the comments thus far).

    • Anthony Sharwood

      Anthony Sharwood says:

      12:10pm | 16/07/12

      What Tim said, except for the bit about being “silly”. I used act like a man, to contrast with acting like “The Man”.

      And for what it’s worth, the phrase “put a sock in it” was an obscure and possibly quite childish reference to Steffensen’s Lycra pants.

      Have a good day all.

    • Susan says:

      01:32pm | 16/07/12

      Well, that effectively brought an end to the conversation. smile  The sock thing didn’t even strike me.

    • Kev says:

      03:56pm | 16/07/12

      I’ve always thought the phrase “act like a man” or “man up” was another way of saying grow up and act like an adult. I would like to meet those people who had a go at you for using that because I would like to hit them over the head with a dose of “get over it and stop looking for hidden signs of sexism in everything”.

    • Jason says:

      06:02pm | 16/07/12

      There is definitely a stereotype in the phrase though.  “act like a man” implies being able to override your emotions (disappointment in this case) and be rational rather than giving in to emotion.

      Whether or not you see it as a stereotype or a general truth about the nature of men vs. women depends on your experience in life and whether you can look up “masculine” in the dictionary.

    • Ron Vincent says:

      09:33am | 16/07/12

      Anthony Sharwood you are a goose. Steffensen won the 400 metre Olympic trial in March. If I had trained for most of my life and then be left off this event, I think I would be entitled to complain. Don’t kid yourself that many athletic and swimming officials aren’t puffed up little dictators, who no matter how bad their administration is, won’t be first on the plane to London. Your comments are pathetic. Go and get a real job.

    • marley says:

      10:07am | 16/07/12

      @Ron - if you’d trained most of your life, achieved an “A” time, and been left off, you’d have the right to complain.  If you’d trained most of your life,and failed to achieve an “A” time, you should be grateful you’re getting a berth in the relay team.

    • Paulie says:

      10:09am | 16/07/12

      Perhaps the administration is bad - but if Steffenson was fast enough to run an A-Qualifying time this wouldn’t be an issue. He wasn’t fast enough, so he had to rely on the discretion of the selectors. Perhaps he’s just burned too many bridges in the past?

    • Greg says:

      10:15am | 16/07/12

      Ron the problem with the athletics ‘trial’ is that it is really just another event where competitors can attempt to make the ‘A’ qualifying time, AA do not have the luxury of swimming Australia where they know most events will have at least I A qualifier so they can use first on the day selection.

      Most aths events don’t have an Aussie make the A time all year so really the event should be renamed to be just another event, trial gives the false hope of qualification, where none is ever promised.

    • The Razor says:

      06:16pm | 16/07/12

      Yes Steffensen did win the trial, but his time now is not good enough, or as good as the times this young kid is running now. The qualifying trial is a guide only and it is always at the discretion of the administration, but to come out and say ” Yo man, it’s my colour man, you know what i’m talkin bro ” is just copycat “racist ” card calling, he like many others have been taught and encouraged to use that card first !

    • Sad Sad Reality says:

      10:13am | 16/07/12

      Who cares? It’s not like he was going to make the final anyway.

    • Old & Wise says:

      10:20am | 16/07/12

      Steffensen needs to wake up to himself - not the first time he has pulled this stunt - Athletics Australia should drop him altogether - what a loser! Get a real job and stop whinging!!

    • dibatag says:

      11:04am | 16/07/12

      I would say he acted like an idiot , just like idiot Mundine

    • Anjuli says:

      11:43am | 16/07/12

      I am so over this racist stuff,  it is OK when nurses in a public hospital my daughter is a nurse, are subjected to verbal and physical abuse every day by his race. The nurses and doctors on the receiving end of this abuse, have to put up with it.Respect it is said begets respect but it some times a one way street.

    • Rose says:

      08:58pm | 16/07/12

      I didn’t realize there was a problem with Australian born persons of South African heritage abusing medical staff, or are you just making shit up?
      If you want to receive respect first you must give it….looks like you’re the one on the wrong side of your one way street!

    • nick says:

      12:14pm | 16/07/12

      wait isn’t it suggested that AA is ignoring racism, as opposed to being racist?

    • Dr Roper says:

      12:22pm | 16/07/12

      “Discretionary selection” is one of those glorious phrases like “Cultural fit” that Australia uses well to hide decisions that might have been made on morally dubious grounds.

      I personally liked the fact he called out the AA. Their response didn’t really do anything to discredit his claims.

      AA boss Dallas O’Brien says the runner needs to “settle down” and he’s a “little over-emotional”.

      He didn’t say Steffenson is wrong which is pretty telling.

      Anyway, all up it doesn’t matter because christ, when was the last time an Australian male won a Olympic track gold? Why is our Aussie male track event record so bloody poor.

      Even the Kiwi men have won one since our last one!

    • marley says:

      12:33pm | 16/07/12

      Maybe our record is poor because we pick over-the-hill guys like Steffansen instead of kids with potential like Solomon.  I think the reason the AA chose Solomon is pretty obvious.

    • The Razor says:

      12:23pm | 16/07/12

      John Steffensen accusing Athletics Australia of ” racism “, over their failure to pick him ! .... Yes it’s the first thing non whites scream when they don’t get their way ” RACISM ” . What a load of crap, it’s been done to death, and still being flogged. So what do the whites claim when they are not picked, ” Racism “, no that does not apply to whites.

    • Glen says:

      12:25pm | 16/07/12

      Maybe he should go run for his parents’ native South Africa in the women’s athletics. They’re good at running men in women’s events and with the amount of whining he’s been doing, anyone would think he was a chick. Funniest comment… @Greg (9.33am) ‘Is it cause I is black?’ No Jon it’s because you is slow

    • Sickemrex says:

      02:36pm | 16/07/12

      Is it only me that thought of Caster Semenya upon seeing “running”, “chick” and “South African” in the one paragraph?

    • LFG says:

      12:30pm | 16/07/12

      When I saw the interview - as soon as John said “I am my own Man”
      - I thought - he has been talking to Anthony Mundene!!!!!

    • Admiral Ackbar says:

      12:50pm | 16/07/12

      The guy sounds like an idiot.

      “I don’t think [Solomon’s selection] helps the legitimacy of our sport or the selection criteria, and I think it only makes our sport look stupid. The rules and the goalposts are getting shifted. Now they’re going to pick who they want to put in the team.” - Ah, picking who they want in the team is kind of the point.

      “I’ve put up with being racially vilified by this federation, being discriminated against on many teams.” - Sure you have.

      “...You think I waste my time running at training for fun? For this? “No, they can have athletics. I don’t need to do this no more” - You waste your time at training for other reasons? If you don’t enjoy it then why are you doing it?

      “…You know it would help if I was a different colour. A lot of my decisions with my federation would be totally different.” - Not sure you being white would help with your racism.

      “But I’ve never brought that up. I’ve always kept quiet on that. Because people aren’t really going to want to hear” - Except for at least those two times where you did bring it up.

      Tool.

    • Dieter Moeckel says:

      12:53pm | 16/07/12

      Spent a great deal of time in the NT.
      Alice - racism (deservedly); Darwin cosmopolitan; Minjalang, Umbakumba racist when a young bloke was in trouble or pissed no problem otherwise although the cultures were at odds occasionally.
      Racism is a brilliant card to play, better than the bird. Israel uses racism and racist history with aplomb and equanimity with devastating effect.
      When all else fails I remember all the racist issues I’ve faced as an immigrant over the past 60 years and use it with indomitable effect. And am in variously told to go back to where you come from (that is any other place than Queensland; sometimes to where I was born.)
      Racism and male chauvinism are accusations hard to counter especially when you laugh at blond jokes, Billy Coke Bottle, Irish or Italian jokes, refugee (Vietnam & Muslim) stand up.
      How any one can claim to be non-racist is quite beyond me I claim to be but I’m realistic enough to know that I am not. I even tried to ensure that my children married “Correctly”

    • sams says:

      01:17pm | 16/07/12

      i am a racist i hate everyone equally

    • Shep says:

      07:47pm | 16/07/12

      That’s very brave of you.  I thought I was a racist, as I’m often quite uncomfortable when confronted by some indigenous people, if i cant understand them or theyre agressively confronting me about something and don’t feel I know how to respond.  Then I was able to be involved in an in-depth profiling project and found out that not only am I apparently not racist but that I am remarkably tolerant when it comes to race, I was pleasantly surprised.

      So It would seem that I’m simply intolerant of rudeness, or overt aggression based on supposed racial indignation and apparently I’m equally intolerant of this regardless of skin color.  I just don’t take dickheadedness well. 

      I do however find it really tiring always trying to be politically correct, especially when faced with false indignation and presented with the race card or the need to sublimate my own racial heritage as though I am not guilty enough of past injustices.  My personal hate is the concept that merely by identifying with a racial group allows you to claim it as your own regardless of actually ethnicity. Its difficult to judge the validity of the claim, especially as to question it, is to be immediately considered racist and anyway by that reasoning I claim Goth, and not the spooky, eyeliner and black lipstick wearing kind either, sounds like a fun race and I identify with them!

      Each to his own I think, it’s just important to be a good person, not a good white person or a good yellow person, just a good person.

    • NikRaf says:

      12:54pm | 16/07/12

      i think he is acting true to form for the kind of person he is and playing the cards he knows he can get away with

      if he had put in the fastest time for the 400m then i would say he has some thing to bitch about but he is just going on like some one pinched his all day sucker

    • John Stuart Mill says:

      12:54pm | 16/07/12

      There are two reasons Steffensen hasn’t been picked - he’s always been a prima donna, and he’s proved over the years that he’s just not as good as he thinks he is. Playing the racist card also shows he’s a fool. Good riddance.

    • ProfoundBS says:

      01:10pm | 16/07/12

      All Steffensen can do is run a blistering race in the relay and prove AA

    • ProfoundBS says:

      02:20pm | 16/07/12

      wrong, that is

    • JP Killion says:

      01:29pm | 16/07/12

      Is being black bad? if not why is being called black racist and offensive? what category does being called irish and overweight fall into?, I am both, is one racist and one not?

    • Valeriy Borzov says:

      01:33pm | 16/07/12

      AA provided opportunity to Solomon because he has potential and could compete in two or three Olympic Games and World Championships. Steffensen does not. His fastest time was in 2006 and he has shown no improvement since. If you have two athletes, neither or whom has achieved the qualifying standard, if you select anyone at all, you select the one who has the most to offer in the long term. Simple really. Back in old country, people like Steffensen would be working in salt mines until they grow up.

    • Lilly says:

      01:45pm | 16/07/12

      TLDR but did study the picture. That dude is HOT!

    • Justin of Earlwood says:

      01:57pm | 16/07/12

      The guy won a ribbon for 1st place at the Commonwealth Athletics Carnival. Show some respect!

    • Bindare says:

      02:09pm | 16/07/12

      Why should we - he hasn’t!

    • stephen says:

      08:52pm | 16/07/12

      Carnivals that include the three-legged race ?

      This Games hasn’t even begun and this lot whinge more than Miners do.

      (Methinks they haven’t had it hard enough, like Miners do.)

    • Bindare says:

      02:07pm | 16/07/12

      Steffensen, the reality is this: The Australian public couldn’t care less whether you boycott the Olympics or not. You are a whinger playing the race card & that is what you will be remembered for - just like “Laydown Sally” in the rowing.

    • chuck says:

      02:34pm | 16/07/12

      He could of course do what 2 more recent sheilas have done, gone running to a lawyer and TV to circumvent the horrible realisation that he was not good enough!

    • Jay says:

      04:01pm | 16/07/12

      Are you referring to one being Hayley Beresford of the Dressage Team who went to court?

      Actually, the   two Oatleys who are granddaughters of billionaire Bob Oatley, a generous sponsor of Dressage grand prix events , have both been chosen as reps for this sport.
      It has also created some outright hostilities at the perceived influence of wealth and patronage that has upon the selection process.

      Kristy Oatley gained her spot at the expense of Hayley Beresford under a “discretionary” selection process.
      Beresford was ranked 111th in the world,while Kristy Oatley’s ranking was 283, as judged by the Federation Equestre Internationale. Both women represented Australia in Beijing.
      Beresford also recently, beat Kristy Oatley in Aachen in Germany hours before the Court of Arbitration in Sport in Sydney gave the unsurprising nod to Oatley.
      So Hayley outranked and outrode Kirsty Oatley, but the billionaire sponsor’s grandkiddie still makes it ahead of Hayley ????? (wtf..)

      I’ve a daughter who rides dressage and we chose this sport away from show hacking because, like many others, in many cases to win it came down to ‘who you know’ (bff type relationships that Judges form with competitors -sometimes fellow judges outside the ring) not ‘what you know’.  So she started dressage where you where given scores on your performance, seemingly a fair system.
      The whole Beresford-Oatley saga has now just confirmed in our minds, it is also a case of ‘who you know’ and that the average ‘joe’ without money or connections in this sport won’t ever be a serious prospect who can make it on their own merit. It stinks!

    • Robert S McCormick says:

      02:51pm | 16/07/12

      I just love the way that as soon as someone doesn’t get what he/she wants or for some weird reason thinks they are entitled to like no other & if they happen to be ‘not quite white’ they scream “racism”! Yet when some ‘quite white’ gets omitted or misses out on something they are expected to take it & keep quiet.
      If Steffensen has not qualified then he has not qualified. End of story.
      If Steve Solomon has run faster in the same 400m than Steffensen has done this year then, for those who give a toss about these stupid Olympics & are responsible for selecting On Current Form the best possible candidate. That, master Steffensen, must be Steve Solomom. for whether you like it or not Solomon has been running better than you during the last year.
      I agree with Bindare when he/she says Steffensen is just a whinger trotting out the race card & it is that for what he will always be remembered.
      As they say today: “Man Up, John!” No-one gives a tinker’s cuss what colour your skin is and the selectors for all sports are required to select the player, participant who is in the Best Form & they will do so without regard for their heritage.

    • kev says:

      03:52pm | 16/07/12

      Steffensen lost any credibility in attacking AA’s selection criteria the moment he started and continues to claim that AA is racist without a shred of evidence to support it. The racial inferiority complex of black people when things go against them or when there is criticism of them is wearing thin.

      If Steffensen spent as much time training and working hard as he did shooting his mouth off on TV and on Twitter then he would have run the required time to qualify for that event in the Olympic team.

    • Justin of Earlwood says:

      04:18pm | 16/07/12

      I remember Lauren Hewitt getting stuck into Athletics Australia over lack of support. Was an interesting stance from someone who was a world semi-finalist at best, yet was funded throughout her career. I think the then CEO of AA may have mentioned that in passing.

      Athletes have huge egos. Individual sports people need to for motivation. Of course that means that failure is all down to themselves, so they clutch at anything they can blame. Steffo plays the race card. Hewitt played the lack of support card (as the swimmers are preemptively doing now). Tamsyn Whatshername has every excuse under the sun. Martina Hingis sued her shoe maker when the Williams sisters came along.

      They all needed an excuse so that in their minds, it wasn’t down to them. If they didn’t, the realization of of their self-induced failure would be a mortal wound & they’d never be able to motivate themselves again due to lack of belief.

    • NikRaf says:

      04:27pm | 16/07/12

      what are they going to do if Steve Solomon who is Jewish players the same race card as Steffensen has ?

      i think Solomon will be a bigger man “even though he is only 19” if they take the spot of him and give it to what’s his face

    • Swamp Thing says:

      06:03pm | 16/07/12

      @ Justin of Earlwood, nail on the head stuff right there. I recall reading something attributed to one of Adolf Hitlers underlings, a certain field marshall Jodel. It was to the effect that an absolute dictator should never be reminded of their errors as it would shatter their self confidence!
      Meanwhile us lesser mortals have to make our mistakes, hopefully learn from them and move on.

    • dan says:

      09:52am | 06/08/12

      Now i’m waiting with bated breath for Steffenson’s apology to AA, and where John publicly says that they were right!

 

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