Sackermanis: Cast out for being different
Well, it’s official. Footballers are processed meat. Anyone who dares add a touch of spice must be eliminated and buried deeper than toxic waste.
If you haven’t yet caught the news, Brownlow medallist and triple premiership player Jason Akermanis has been sacked from his second club, the Western Bulldogs. This, remember, is the club that opened its arms to Big Bad Barry Hall, so you’d assume they’re prepared to give guys something approaching a long leash.
But no. Today, they’ve decided enough is enough. Seeya Aker. Don’t forget to take your ego on the way out.
The club wouldn’t specify the specific incident which caused this afternoon’s shock sacking, offering only broad generalisations like “we just can’t have someone that doesn’t want to toe the party line” and “we can’t tolerate unique individuals who don’t play by team rules”.
Oh, and don’t forget all those “breaches” and “non compliance” with the “trademarks our club stands for”. Shucks, isn’t modern footy romantic?
There are two clear sides here. One is that two points make a line. That Aker left the Brisbane Lions with barely a friend and has now alienated virtually everyone at the Bulldogs. So clearly, this peroxided lunatic with the uncontrollable ego is an intolerable distraction.
The flipside is that modern footy has become so sanitised, it can’t cope with Akermanis. People call it vanilla, but that’s an overstatement. Vanilla is a flavour! If only the AFL culture actively cultivated by Andrew Demetriou had that much taste.
Obviously, Aker has said some ridiculous rubbish in his newspaper columns and elsewhere, not least his recent rant that homosexuals wouldn’t fit into the culture of a modern football club. But his main “crime” has been nothing more than to stand out. To dare to be different. To be what most of us are: a human being with his own personality, opinions and foibles.
How ironic that he himself is now the outcast that football’s culture has no place for.
Before I go, here are a couple of choice quotes from an interview I did with Aker hen he left the Lions back in 2006.
“The good people in the world get suppressed by people who have agendas and narrow minds.”
This, from his autobiography, on his early years:
“I spent the first couple of years of my life living in a caravan. There were plenty of tough times and, while I grew up with a chip on my shoulder… I survived by doing things my way - for right or for wrong. That has won me more enemies than friends at times, but that’s OK. I’ve been fighting battles since the day I was born.”
And this, channelling Tom Cruise:
“I’ve come to the realisation that some people just can’t handle the truth.”
And this, on the worst thing he’s done.
“I think I ran a red light that was really yellow. Yeah, that’s it. That’s the worst thing I’ve done.”
The football world won’t be the same without your sense of humour, Aker. Good luck with life after footy.
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