#nrl

Self-imposed slavery on the sporting field?

We couldn’t help but notice the kneeling across global sporting codes over the weekend. In Australia, players of the AFL and NRL codes all took the knee. No one stood.

The football leagues across Europe did the same thing.

Have we just witnessed acts of modern day slavery?

No, we are not trying to draw an equivalence to those that suffered at the hands of real slavery more than a century ago. Let’s be absolutely clear.

However it is not hard to see capitulating to the mob by surrendering constitutional rights out of a fear of exercising them as a reflection of the bleak dystopian future that is rapidly approaching.

We can be absolutely sure that failure to publicly submit to causes like BLM will lead to vilification and worse. Best to fall in line (literally) to avoid being attacked and face the inevitable backlash from the verbally violent apparatchiks on Twitter.

Is it fair to assume that every player believed in the cause of kneeling for BLM? Or were some pressured to do so? Did they feel their contracts might come under threat for non compliance?

Worry they might. LA Galaxy star Aleksandar Katai was recently sacked for something his wife tweeted about BLM without his knowledge. Career over. Shouldn’t the incendiary tweets of a spouse live and die there? Should companies have the power to sack us for the free speech exercised by our own husbands or wives in their own time?

Do employers have rights to enforce behaviors of employees completely unrelated to their jobs especially if not bound by legal contracts?

Did woke sponsors threaten to withdraw support if they didn’t make the virtue signaling gesture? Or did the same sponsors fear secondary boycotts and demand players got on message? Will players and officials kneel at every match from now on?

Are police officers – who attend every sporting match for player and fan security – so in need of being vilified each game for things the overwhelming majority haven’t committed?

Let’s not forget the long list of disgraceful crimes committed by many sports celebrities including rape, murders, shootings, animal cruelty, prostitution rings, assault, robbery, illegal gun possession, DUI and resisting arrest to name a few. Are these the types of role models the sports bodies think should lecture the rest of us?

We don’t doubt that most players believe in the lives of black (and all) people but was there any resistance in the locker room beforehand? Did they fear an Israel Folau style social media lynch mob which might drag their own family members in the line of fire for failing to fall to their knees?

The NFL in America marks the next step for the rest of the world’s sporting codes.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell made a woefully cringeworthy and cowardly apology for ignoring the cause started by Colin Kaepernick, who will now get to name his price. Watch Goodell make him a race liaison for the NFL. Forget that Kaepernick was an average quarterback when he played. Just sign him ahead of far better players in order to avoid censure. A multi-year lucrative multi-million dollar participation trophy awaits.

Goodell said the NFL condemns systemic racism. Really? Who knew? Why would the NFL have to publicly announce the bleeding obvious? c.70% of NFL players are handsomely rewarded African Americans. Hardly a league guilty of oppressing minorities.

Goodell promised to spend $250 million over 10 years to combat systemic racism. Put that $25m yearly stipend against the $8bn in annual revenue, that is a token 0.31% of that. So it’s hardly a sum relative to the self loathing video made. Still it makes for good headlines. Will the NFL subsidize Kaep out of that sum?

Will fans be subject to a ditching of the flag and an end to the national anthem at the game? Will it be replaced by a minute’s silence where law abiding, open minded and tolerant citizens of all races are required to watch propaganda on police brutality broadcast on big screens to martial music before kick-off?

What is worse is that Goodell skipped over the fact that his fans more than likely already condemned police brutality well before his forced confession reminiscent of an ISIS hostage video.

Is Goodell’s memory so short? Don’t fans just want to unwind from the stresses of family, work and politics by watching their team play a great game?

The NFL might feel encouraged that it’s viewership may have made a tepid recovery from the lows of 2017 but it shouldn’t test the loyalty of fans this way. They don’t pay good money to be lectured over things they already repudiate.

The Australian Wallabies rugby union team is another franchise which succumbed to pandering to identity politics over serving the needs of paying customers. Self-inflicted wound. It will take decades to recover, if ever.

The AFL and NRL should watch their step too. Overplay politics at games where fans go to escape it and they might find they walk away leaving them where they are now – cardboard cutouts in the stands and canned crowds. Don’t mistake any bump in ratings as anything other than a short term COVID19 induced boredom escaping aberration.

To think if the players hadn’t submitted to bondage in the first place, they would have no need to get on their knees of their own volition and beg their ultimate paymasters for mercy.

Industry gets the management it deserves

What did the Rugby Australia (RA) board expect from Israel Folau? That he’d crawl away into obscurity? CM has long held the RA’s handling of this affair has been about as good as the Wallabies on-field performance under Michael Cheika, the coach with the worst record in the history of the team.

Industry gets the management it deserves. Bad outcomes come from poor decisions at the top. RA CEO Raelene Castle’s performance in this affair has revealed she has no crisis management credentials. If Folau ends up bankrupting RA then management didn’t weigh the risks properly when they terminated him for a supposed “high-level breach”.

Recall RA tried to buy Israel Folau off with a $1m shut-up cheque but his religious beliefs weren’t for sale. Folau reached out to former Wallaby and fellow devout Christian, Nick Farr-Jones, who concluded after an intense grilling that his faith was authentic. Did the board take into account NF-J’s testimony? 

The RA’s decision smacks of the spineless virtue signalling that pervades our corporates today. It folds at the first sign of social media activist pressure. It might bang on about “inclusivity” but it practices exclusivity. One wonders if a player from another religion tweeted “apostasy is death” the board would have sung an entirely different tune. It would have said, “we respect all views.

Then we saw the hypocrisy of NRL Chairman Peter Beattie who spoke of the importance of inclusion and freedom of speech (when it comes to players protesting the national anthem) despite affirming that Folau would never play rugby league. So which is it? Whose freedom of speech is free? Beattie even argued that the Folau Twitter post still remained up. If he took it down would the NRL sign him up? Not a chance.

As CM wrote in the last dispatch, RA’s #1 priority does not appear to be rugby. The website is flush with identity politics. Such as this:

MCC works with influential leaders and encourages them to take action towards gender equality. 

Rugby Australia is a proud supporter of MCC and our Chief Executive Raelene Castle has recently been appointed as a Special Advisor on the MCC Sport program. 

This program aims to enhance the involvement of women in all aspects of sport and works with key stakeholders to achieve pay equity.

What has this got to do with managing the Wallabies franchise? Too much focus on irrelevant things that will not turn around the continual losses in the business because the key ingredient that generates revenue – a winning team is second fiddle.

RA folded at the foot of the sponsor, Qantas. A sponsor has the rights to be represented in certain ways but how little confidence must RA have in its ability to attract new backers? Cricket Australia snagged Alinta Energy after the ball-tampering scenario. CM reckons the Adani Wallabies has a nice ring to it.

RA is not run for its fans. Player David Pocock was arrested and charged for chaining himself to a piece of heavy equipment but Folau was fired for quoting a passage from the Bible.

It is quite likely that Folau’s bid in the High Court will succeed. Our constitution enshrines free speech. Whether we like what he said or not is irrelevant. We either support it or we don’t.

Maybe RA needs a total clean out? Perhaps sending in the receivers would see the appointment of someone who loves the game and reconnects with the fans, not waste time trying to enforce identity politics on them.  RA was set up for one purpose. To win.

Why not look at the yardstick of attendance? Why is it since 1962, Eden Park in Auckland is always at full capacity when the beloved All Blacks play? Because the team is so dominant. Why is attendance at Stadium Australia at 65~80% of available seats when it used to be 100% in 2002-2009? Why have Super Rugby attendance figures slumped t to around 11,000 per game vs 35,000 for Aussie Rules and 15,000 for NRL? Even A-League soccer gets average game attendances of 12,500. There is a message here RA. You are not connecting with the flock.

Perhaps Izzy Folau is reciting in prayer for the fans;

For I know the plans I have for you…plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

National Re-education League (NRL)

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Welcome to the world of assigned re-education.  The sanctimonious ritual of blatantly using a venue to promote one side of any debate. In Australia the NRL (National Rugby League) has decided to have Macklemore as half time entertainment at the Grand Final to sing  “Same Love”. For all the lame excuses as to how his song has zero to do with the same sex marriage (SSM) debate Macklemore has been on the radio waves in Australia banging on about the tweets he’s getting from white homophobes. If the “No” side gets up in this plebiscite I’ll have absolutely no sympathy because this finger wagging just has the opppsite impact of the goal it seeks to achieve. People just get tired of the name calling and in your face campaigning. Trump, Brexit, Merkel etc – if the onslaught continues people tune out and vote in secrecy. Then people are shocked? How clear can it be? I’ve yet to meet a person that likes to be on the receiving end of condescending talk

Let’s not forget I firmly believe in civil rights. That has never been in question but it’s the blatant propaganda that is tiring  (for most people). There is one issue which is clearly defined. This isn’t an election. We are not debating energy, housing, taxation, poverty or superannuation ahead of an election yet it’s day in day out. If indeed the “Yes” side has already claimed an emphatically victory then why not just give it a rest. No no  we must have the rainbow flags flown on the town hall, rainbow stickers on the work security gates and now the Finals – non stop

Why doesn’t the NRL have Kevin Bloody Wilson sing for the “No” case? Would the NRL allow a gospel choir group singing about “we are family” a la Aretha Franklin? Of course not.  There in lies the issue. Why can’t sports finals be just that instead of propaganda filled events.  Once again 99.999% of the population have already made up their minds over the subject so this is just senseless droning. PM Turnbull was on ‘The Project’ lamely submitting to the idea Macklemore’s just an entertainer and people are reading too much into his song.

To be honest – whether yes or no – the subject should be well and truly kept out of sporting events. It is the obsession with people claiming “free speech” therefore it should be fine.

OK I’ll be knocking on your door at 9:30pm with yes campaign leaflets and a ghetto blaster playing Macklemore on reasonable volume because it’s free speech and it isn’t disturbing the peace legally. So if you think it’s ok to re-educate me at the footy. I feel it’s ok to re-educate you at home. “Sorry, did I wake the kids?”

The idea of watching the game is to get away from the grind of work, stress, financial woes and so on. Now that sanctuary is being destroyed because indoctrination is part and parcel of everyday life. Shut up and submit!

Finally something to really cheer about

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Ever noticed how most news is negative these days. It was last week when I took a break from writing any blogs because frankly I felt I was adding to the endless negativity.  So today, I was warmed by a story of a high school in NSW Australia that brought forward a student formal by 6 months to enable a terminally ill school girl, Hannah Rye, to attend it with a National Rugby League (NRL) hero, Trent Hodkinson.

The NRL is often plagued by sex, drug, alcohol and violence related scandals so it is truly nice to see there is a positive face.  Too often we are exposed to overpaid juvenile brats who can’t see anything other than their own media bubble.

It is nice to think that someone in “real” trouble with few months to live is given such a wonderful opportunity to see out her last days with pride, dignity and joy. I sincerely hope Hannah gets all the media attention she deserves and the wish it relieves the anguish of all the physical pain caused by Ewing sarcoma — a cancer found in the bones or soft tissue.

Even the self-entitled should grasp the essence of going out of one’s way to help another selflessly is worthy in every way. Inspiring stuff that decency in humanity still exists.