Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Rendell controversy

Sometimes you just have to shake your head at the spectacle of liberalism.

The Australian media has been embroiled in a race controversy over the past couple of days. The exact details of what happened are disputed but go something like this:

1. An Aboriginal AFL football player, Liam Jurrah, was arrested after allegedly flying back home to his community to attack his cousin with a machete and axe as a payback for the death of another man.

2. That incident led to a newspaper interview with an Aboriginal community engagement officer, Jason Mifsud. Mifsud revealed that a club recruiter had told him that clubs were worried about integrating Aboriginal players to the point that some clubs might only recruit players with one white parent. The club recruiter said this in the context of presenting Mifsud with a scheme for providing Aboriginal players with scholarships to remedy the situation.

3. The head of the AFL, Andrew Demetriou, a very orthodox liberal, ("I want our boundaries to be open") then demanded that Mifsud tell him who the recruiter was. Mifsud revealed that it was his long-time friend, Matt Rendell.

4. Supposedly Demetriou then leaned on Rendell's club to fire him (this part is disputed). Rendell was summarily fired by his club as a "racist" - despite being a good friend of Mifsud (and having appointed him previously to a club position) and despite advocating positive discrimination in favour of Aboriginal players.

5. Rendell then claimed to have cried for 30 hours in anguish about being called a racist. Rendell later regretted not wording his comments better: "It is a sensitive issue. People don't like talking about it for fear of being branded because you might get one word in the wrong place."

It's such a spectacle to witness the way that people under the sway of liberalism behave. It reminds me of the power that used to be attached to the word "sexist". If a feminist was debating an opponent all she had to do was to accuse him of sexism and it was as if the sky began to shake: he would begin his defensive retreat, the media would round on him, soul searching about oppressed womanhood would begin - regardless of what had been said or done.

Someone not so much under the sway of liberalism is a former football champion Fraser Gehrig. He came out and complained about the treatment of Matt Rendell:
Whoever it might be, the AFL or Adelaide - and I'm tipping the AFL - it's pretty disappointing that they've hung him out to dry like this.

"It's like they've hung him before they have even got to the trial.

Gehrig, who played 260 games including 145 at St Kilda between 2001-08, said Adelaide legend Andrew McLeod had been reluctant to judge Rendell.

"He's thinking the way Adelaide should have been thinking - let him explain himself and then make a decision," Gehrig said.

"It's a disgrace what has happened.

"I don't know if someone has a bone to pick with him, but they're trying to ruin someone's reputation which he has built up for 35 years and that's not right."

Gehrig is clearly not operating from within the liberal bubble. He's stayed outside - I just wish there were more in public life like him.


  1. What has happened with the recruitement of Aboriginal footballers over the last 20 years has been one of the few great things that has happened in the AFL.

    Prior to 1990, there were very few Aboriginal footballers playing the old VFL. There were many on the SA and WA leagues, but the VFL was the pinnacle and their representation was minimal. This was partly because, I suspect, Aboriginal footballer's were reluctant to leave their home states, and partly because money was not a large factor.

    But nevertheless, the lack of Aboriginal players was pretty pathetic.

    The trend line since 1990 has been a constant increase in their participation to the point where 10% of players are of Aboriginal descent. This is an extraordinary level of participation, because Australia's Aboriginal population is 2-5%. So they are now clearly beign represented in the AFL. No one could argue that they were not getting a fair go.

    But this is where the 'endless growth' element kicks in to the aboriginal story.

    I suspect that the key people in the AFL believe that unless this upward trend CONTINUES so that the next stage 15% of players are Aboriginal, then the AFL have failed, and they would be seen to be 'racist'.

    So, where have the AFL tried to recruit this extra 5%? Is it the most traditional of Aboriginal societies? Where English is barely spoken?

    I am pretty sure that recruits like Liam Jurrah have only been recruited in the last few years.

    And it appears they are having trouble retaining these players.

    So be it. If that is the case, do something about it.

    Do not carry on about perceived racist act's.

    As for Demetriou, he has a poor track record on pronouncement's. Back in 2005 he criticised the style of football employed by the Syndey Swans (this was a a correct statement), but then extrapolated that they would NOT win anything playing that style. It was such a ludicrous statement to make. They went on to WIN the Grand final that year.

    Savvas Tzionis

  2. We have to remmeber that a recuriters job is to fidn the best talent, that will provide their club with the greatest value. Just a few weeks ago there were whisperings that people who weren't exceptional middle-distance runners wouldn't get a look in. Nobody batted an eyelid - this is business as usual.

    But when you look at aboriginal players and the frequency with which they are given special treatement due to "personal issues" you have to question whether, despite their obvious telent for the game, they wil provide the best value for a footy club. Austin wonaemirri, Liam Jurrah, Leon davis, Andrew krakouer - all have "gone walkabout", or been released - and that's just since the end of last season! If you're not taking this into aaccount, you'r enot doing your job properly.

    Also amusing to note the AFL's reluctance to issue punishment to Jurrah.
    Brendan fevola, AFL superstar who's "crime" was being a drunken jerk, was hung out to dry, never to play AFL again. My personal view is that cutting someone shead open with a machete is a *bit* more srious than staying out late at night, yet Jurrah, an average player at best, is free to play without sanctions. Go figure!