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.