And so the villagers descend. Burn the witch! Burn the witch! Riled up by a bunch of holier than thou journalists who are probably still coming down from last weekend’s bender. Motivated by a great sense of injustice that those privileged enough to play sport for a living should ever do anything to ever jeopardise it – “pay me $500k and I’d be the perfect little citizen!”
Well I call bullshit. On all of it. The hypocrisy. The lynch mob. The whole fucking thing.
Yes, I’m talking about the Karmichael Hunt thing that has surely now got to be more of a Gold Coast Titans thing and could go on to become something even more.
Robert Craddock’s suggestion last week that it was the blackest day in Queensland sport – and he said this before the Titans were even mentioned – was as naïve as it was sensationalised for ‘clicks’. This mad notion that drugs are the worst thing in society is just plain ridiculous. You know what’s worse? Systemic cheating. Beating your fucking pregnant girlfriend – twice. Yet that bloke is still running around playing in Queensland and people are calling for Hunt to never play again? I think we need to recheck our priorities.
The comments from Rugby League fans when only Hunt was named are in hindsight hilarious. “Not our problem.” “Glad he went to the AFL.” Etc, etc. Well where are those commentators now? No doubt adding to the gems such as “Send them to Bali!” “Ban them for life!”
Assertions that the players did it out of greed are also just plain ridiculous. I am not sure of the official definition of ‘drug dealer’, but to label them as such, as some media outlets have done (precluded of course by the obligatory ‘alleged’ before they go on to write an article that does anything but presume innocence), is both inflammatory and irresponsible.
Four charges of ‘supply’ suggests to me that he was merely the middle man for a few of his mates. Chances are he footed the bill! In a world where our sportsmen are meant to be these perfect Clark Kent type characters, he probably just craved a bit of darkness, something a bit dirty to get the rush, or, he was just helping some mates out.
Will Swanton’s notion that “There was a time when a sporting scandal amounted to a larrikin swimmer pinching an Olympic flag,” is wild delusion. Given the way Rugby League players used to behave on the pitch, where borderline criminal acts were part and parcel of the game, I can not imagine they were much better after a couple of beers, can you? The Will Swantons of the time just didn’t spend so much of their energy deliberating on the morality of footballers, expecting them to be above the flaws of the common man.
Drugs are a part of our society. Always have been. Always will be. Governments are clearly losing the War on Drugs. Demand is too high and greed is too great. Thousands of people in Mexico are being killed as a result and who knows what is going on elsewhere that the media has yet to take a hold of.
I have an idea, which is in no way uniquely my own, legalise it. Improve the quality and stop shifty blokes cutting it up with poison and killing people for getting in their way. Tax it, take it off the streets and decrease the budget deficit. People clearly want it. People are willing to risk their careers for it. Still charge a premium price and it won’t become the pandemic in schools that people seem to fear it will.
In this day and age, if your kids want drugs, they are going to get them. You may as well make sure what they’re getting is relatively safe and not laced with fucking rat poison. It’s on you to educate them as to why taking drugs may not be a good idea. And if your kid can afford a bag of coke, you’re giving them way too much pocket money.
What happens now if all charges against Hunt are dismissed? Will these vultures in the media write an emphatic piece apologising? I highly doubt it.
As far as we know he never failed a drug test. With the AFL’s three strike policy it is possible he did, but I doubt it. Given the very chummy nature of sports administrators and the media in this country the rumours would have been flying thick and thin, and I think we were all blindsided when we read the news on Friday morning.*
Maybe if everybody stopped worrying so much about their brand, whether sporting or political, being held up to 1950s standards that have no relevance in modern society, we could go back to enjoying our sportspeople for what they are, entertainers and nothing more.
By Alasdair McClintock
* A tip of my hat to the police investigators for this. How much better if ASADA had been so professional?