League Sex Scandal
As the media cycle turns once more to appalling allegations against one of our sport stars, it provides a timely opportunity to talk about a new phenomena that seems to be connected to the recent spate of indiscretions by sports people.
It’s a phenomena that I like to call the “let boneheads be boneheads” movement. You may have heard the movement’s devotees out in force.
They’re the ones calling in to talkback radio and defending the behaviour of their heroes by arguing that we should only focus on what happens whilst on the sporting arena.
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Apart from the kerfuffle it caused in Brisbane last week, the nation may have missed a rugby league scandal that makes Cronulla’s woes look as shocking as a Phil Spector wig.
In fact it was less a rugby league scandal and more the culmination of years of a war on the interaction of the sexes in the workplace.
Poor Joel Clinton, the Broncos frontrower, was fined $50,000 for inviting a friend to his room the night before the match against the Tigers recently. That friend happened to be a woman.
And? And nothing That’s it, that’s all he did.
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It’s a shame to dredge up more dreck about this drongo but it seems the fallout from the Matty Johns saga has at last done the rounds.
We’re in the middle of a sexual etiquette renaissance.
HR seminars at businesses across the country are in overdrive, Sex-Ed classes at schools have ramped up just to remind everyone: “Hey guys BTW it’s not cool to sexually assault people… Cheers Thanks.”
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In 1991 I stood in a museum in Cambodia staring at a row of photos of people who’d been tortured and killed by the Khmer Rouge. I was a young journalist sent there to report on the United Nations arriving in Cambodia to set up democratic elections.
I dutifully took myself off to Tuol Sleng the former school where the Khmer Rouge tortured a bizarre array of people they thought were subverting their regime. No-one visits that museum without emerging horrified by the human capacity for irrational brutality. I wrote an article for the Sydney Morning Herald about my experience. Confident I’d broken new ground in feature writing, I asked a senior foreign correspondent what he thought of my effort. He told me: “Shallow and self indulgent.”
Moral outrage comes cheap.
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There’s an extraordinary piece of journalism in today’s Daily Telegraph by “Coogee Cougar” Charmyne Palavi where she takes more positions than the Kama Sutra on the questions of sex and consent.
Palavi, who among other things has blown the whistle on the sub-culture of predatory women bedding sports stars as “scalps”, shot to prominence last week with her morally ambivalent star turn in the Four Corners report on the Matthew Johns sex scandal.
In today’s Tele Palavi speaks of her disappointment that many of her apparently positive experiences have been sullied by the white-hot debate over the Johns affair. She introduces a handy new term to the sexual lexicon - the concept of “mostly consensual” sex.
UPDATE 7.20pm: Willie Mason has been fined $2000 and ordered to do extra work on his club’s programs that help the homeless.
It’s just a pity it was Willie Mason. Unbelievably, this picture was taken just over 24 hours ago, with Mason deciding the best way to conclude the worst week in NRL history was to piss all over the footpath on a public street outside a Sydney nightclub.
The morning newspapers were squeamish with their use of the photo so we thought we’d run it in full here. It wasn’t a sidestreet or an alleyway either - it was bang in front of dozens of youngsters at the Golden Sheaf Hotel, one of Sydney’s busiest pubs. It wasn’t like Mason deserved a drink anyway - his team the Roosters had just been flogged 38-6 by the unfancied Newcastle.
If only because he brings nothing other than headlines such as these, Mason should be punted from the game. How many lives has this boofhead had? How much contempt has he shown for the code that pays his salary? Follow the furore throughout the day here.
In a week when the nation was confronted with a $58 billion budget deficit, when more than a million Australians were stripped of their private health rebate, when plans were unveiled to push the pension age to 67, there was obviously one story in town - Matthew Johns.
Knocking the federal budget off the front page of a major newspaper in budget week is no mean feat. The last people to do it were called Todd and Brant. They hijacked the coverage of Peter Costello’s 2006 Budget by spending the previous 14 days buried alive in a tiny air-pocket in the collapsed Beaconsfield mine.
While Costello was frustrated by his own burial on the inside pages, Wayne Swan might have been faintly relieved that, just two days after sheepishly unveiling our biggest-ever deficit, replete with some fingers-crossed growth forecasts which may have us not on the path to surplus but bankruptcy, Sydney’s Daily Telegraph devoted its first three pages to Matthew Johns affair.
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JUST because she bragged about having sex with a lot of rugby players doesn’t mean, under it all, she wasn’t traumatised.
Sure, it kicks on the story a bit by playing to a view which doubtless many believe - that the woman enjoyed the whole sordid incident.
Nine tracked down someone in New Zealand to have a go at the woman who told her heart-wrenching story to Four Corners. It ran on the 6pm news last night and this morning was the lead story on Australia’s biggest news website, ninemsn.
This time last week we were saddling up for NRL sex scandal #847. Commentators were jogging to their designated positions on the pitch, limbering up to churn out the usual for/against Rugby League diatribes, this time about League favourite Matthew Johns, who was about to be outed as a fan of group sex by the ABC.
Then Sarah Ferguson’s incredible report went to air on Four Corners on Monday night and for 36 hours most people were speechless. It was so much worse than anyone could have imagined after Johns’ inadequate explanation on last Thursday’s Footy Show.
I don’t know if it was the vivid way the two young women featured articulated the damage done, the glib comments to Four Corners from the players involved, or the sickening sight of Fatty Vautin slapping Johns on the shoulder after his preemptive strike, but the usual barrage of analysis paused.
Last night Tracy Grimshaw broke the awkward silence.
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