David Pocock Absolutely Must Captain Australia Again

Let me start this article off by saying I am not a politically correct person.*

I despise the need to tread so finely around people’s delicate sensibilities in this ridiculous age we live in, but the times they are a-changin’ and I celebrate David Pocock for the stand he made against the Waratahs. It amazes me that a strong contingent of the media, and even some of my mates, don’t agree. Are we really that backward?

Greg Martin said last week that Pocock would never captain the Wallabies again. He said that the incident had fractured the game between “clear-thinking, modern-thinking footballers who will support David Pocock and the more old school, hard heads who will say that was a disgrace he shouldn’t have done that.”

Well if that is the case, good. Would the old school hard heads now kindly stand down, retire to their “gentlemen’s” clubs with the Donald Sterlings of this world and leave the game to those clear-thinking folk to guide it competently through the modern age.

Whether you like it or not, the F-word is the new N-word, and if Jaques Potgieter had used the N-word instead, I guarantee we would not be having this debate.

Even Potgieter realised he crossed the line and ‘fessed up and apologised. Fair play to him, that took guts. He even went to a training session with gay rugby union club Sydney Convicts, where he no doubt had a few eye opening conversations on the effect the word ‘faggot’ can have on some gay men.**

Given he is probably the only Waratah possessing a strong South African accent, there’s a good chance Pocock knew full well it was he who said it. This is a key point that Pocock’s critics are happy to ignore. Pocock did not point the finger directly at Potgieter, he just made a general complaint. That is not dobbing, as Rebecca Wilson would like you to believe, it is anything but.

It was actually Rebecca Wilson’s article in Saturday’s Daily Telegraph that inspired me to write this piece. I thought the issue had been laid to rest. Pocock and Potgieter were back to playing footy. We had all moved on. But Wilson’s article filled me such a stomach churning rage that I couldn’t resist.

Wilson is obviously of the school of thought that what happens on the field stays on the field. A long sacrosanct and unwritten law that is basically an excuse for thugs to do whatever the hell they like and expect the bloke who got stretchered off unconscious not to arc up when he awakens.

I for one am 50/50 on this rule. I acknowledge that things are said and done in the heat of the moment, but I have seen too many blokes use it as an excuse to behave like absolute scumbags on the paddock and hide behind it after a game.

Wilson accused Pocock of setting a dangerous precedent and even inferred that he is hypocritical for not complaining about references to female genitalia and anti-female barbs. In this, as in so much else, she has erred. Pocock’s reasoning for speaking out, and has been for some time, is that there could be a guy on the field struggling to accept his sexuality and the usage of aggressive terms like “faggot” are hardly going to encourage him to embrace himself and expect acceptance from his peers.

It would be insanely hypocritical for Pocock to say this off the field and then not back it up on it. There might be a bloke on the field struggling to deal with Jaques Potgieter actually messing about with his wife’s genitalia, but that’s not for Pocock, or anyone but those two and his wife to sort out.

Wilson said, “When the flanker heard the taunts last weekend, he was engaged in a bitter on-field battle with a clearly superior team, frustrated by the Brumbies’ lack of form against a gun opposition.” She is clearly inferring here that it was sour grapes. I see a clear-thinking (there it is again) individual who is able to keep his cool in the heat of battle. I see a leader, and someone I want to lead our country against the All Blacks in a World Cup final.

I had an incident in a nightclub recently where I thought a high profile footballer, with well known behavioural issues, was, as Vince Vaughn would say, “eye-fucking the shit out of me.” Real sleazy shit. I felt positively violated by his gaze. Chances are, this was not the case. I had imbibed a fair bit of delicious life-affirming whiskey by this stage and he was probably more concerned for my well-being (or his). But it got me thinking – it would make so much sense.

We always wonder why these guys, who seemingly have it all, continually screw things up and risk everything for another night out. They are undoubtedly young men with inner-demons (for lack of a better term) and statistically there are gay men running around in the top levels of each code. Living with that secret and being surrounded by people who make consistent disparaging remarks about it, even in jest, could not be easy. I imagine the urge to act out would be overwhelming at times.***

Yet Wilson would prefer we just ignore these problems. It’s just the way it is. Suck it up and get on with it. Her comparison to her own experience in the workplace as a woman is fair, but her suggestion that one is best to just ignore it and get on with the job must have even the most apathetic feminists pulling their hair out.

If people don’t stand up and say something, things will never change. And to those saying Pocock should just shut up and play footy, maybe you should just shut up and watch it.

By Alasdair McClintock

* If you think that, you can go fist yourself.

** Watch the poker scene from Episode 2, Season 1, of “Louie,” if you would like an insight.

*** I’m not saying every footballer with behavioural issues is a closet homosexual, but I will go as far to say that they probably are. 

Ranking Steve Smith’s Career Profile Pics

In the lead-up to Sunday’s World Cup Final – and following his prolific 2014-15 season with the bat – we at TPA felt it was time to analyse the many and varied profile pictures of Steve Smith. TPA’s Dave Edwards gives his take on each glorious mug shot.

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bleary
BLEARY-EYED YOUNGSTER: Looks like someone slept in and nearly missed the team bus on the way to the photo shoot. Endearingly cute pic.

 

SS

FRESH-FACED PRODIGY: Alert and confident, with just the hint of a sports smile. He’s starting to get used to these photo shoots.

 

SS16

ACADEMY PRODUCT: Hands on hips, ready for battle. This is one of the best and brightest products that the Academy has ever produced – and doesn’t he know it? Excellent posture and poise. Don’t worry, he’ll grow in to that neck one day.

 

SS18

LARRIKIN SELLOUT: Look at that knowing glance. Funny how the Rajasthan Royals can splash out millions to sign the greatest international cricketers, but still insist on using Comic Sans typeface for their player profiles. There’s just a hint of mischief about Steve Smith in this pic.

 

SS12

DEPENDABLE NICE GUY: “I am trustworthy and dependable. Vote 1, Steve Smith.” Lovely little head tilt too, with an excellent late 90-era boyband arm-cross to complete the look. This is fucking ace, this is.

SS8

SPORTS SMILE #1: “I’ve been doing these photo shoots for a while now and my smile has degenerated from genuine to half-hearted. What even is this expression? I am neither happy nor sad, just indifferent.”

SS7

SPORTS SMILE #2: Here, he looks like he can’t even be bothered to use his facial muscles. One cheek will do. The eyes are fucking dead. This is grim.

SS111

HOLLYWOOD ACTION HERO: Shit, look at Devereux in this T20 pic! Has he been working out? That chest won’t quit. WOW. Also, he looks like he’s had work done. Is this even Steve Smith, or an imposter? LOOK HOW TAUT HIS SKIN IS!

SS1

PHOTOSHOP ALERT: What? This looks eerily similar to the pic above. Could it be that Cricket Australia has super-imposed an ODI shirt on Steve Smith in a bid to cut costs?

SS2

PHOTOSHOP ALERT #2: Well that confirms it! Three photos in a row! This is perhaps the lousiest effort of the three. It looks like he’s wearing a shawl; there’s something disturbingly shapeless about his body. I’m fucking livid. Where’s the diversity?

SS11

CONFUSED TALENT: This is the vacant expression of a man who is utterly sick of photo shoots.

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DETERMINED: I like this photo. If you compare it to the first pic in this post – all those years ago – you can see how far Steve Smith has come. The eyeballs are lively and determined, the stance is bold and upright. 

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COMFORTABLE WITHIN SELF: Steve Smith knows who he is now. This is the most relaxed we’ve seen him so far. I wish I looked like this in all my photos.

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PHOTOSHOP ALERT: Fair play. It’s a great pic.

 

best photo

BEST PHOTO YET: It’s nice to see him in a team polo for once. Casual, clean. Just a hint of a smile, with arms neatly crossed and hair perfectly coiffed. He looks lean, too, so he must be in a good place. Confident and masculine: a far cry from the confused youngster who nearly missed the team bus on his way to his maiden photoshoot.

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BLOOPER: Sorry. I just had to chuck this one in here.

By Dave Edwards

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Michael Jordan Explains His Own Basketball Cards

On a recent business trip to Asia, TPA Founder David J. Edwards stumbled upon a treasure while scavenging the Beijing flea-markets. That treasure? A rare Michael Jordan themed set of playing cards – a fitting momento to reflect his Airness’ basketball prowess, as well as his penchant for gambling. In an exclusive interview, Michael Jordan shares his own thoughts on each of the cards…

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IMG_0713Dem waffles. No matter how far this basketball thing takes me, I’ll always be thinking of momma’s waffles.”

IMG_0703“Look how fresh-faced I am! Can you believe I was only the third draft pick? Me neither. Sure, I can understand why Haakem [Olajuwon] went #1, but what the fuck were the Trail-Blazers thinking picking Sam Bowie over me? Must remain humble, though. Plus, Chicago is a way cooler city (right now, in 1984) than Portland. I’m really happy to be here.”IMG_0717

“White tank top and winning smile. I feel like NBA titles are just around the corner.”

IMG_0708“Just shooting around before the game. Can’t remember exactly when this was taken, but I’m pretty sure I nailed the shot. Look at my steely focus and excellent late 1980s-era tracksuit.”

IMG_0706“Tongue out, ducking left-handed in my away strip. God I look positively fearsome in this pic.”

IMG_0702“Is that cash in my hand? Am I counting cash? It’s definitely not an iPhone because this was likely taken around 1990. Yeah it’s probably cash. I had a lot of it. Still do.”

IMG_0707“This is a lovely shot. The obvious subtext here, like with most of my photos, is victory. I’ve likely aced a buzzer beater and the photographer has captured this just prior to the moment my teammates engulf me.”

IMG_0714“Crack the muthafuckin champagne!!! Wooo! Man, those late 80s-era Pistons were tough, but I feel like we’re at the start of something special. I can’t be sure, but I’m guessing this was taken just after we won our first title under Phil [Jackson].”

IMG_0711“It’s the 90s. This photo could be on the cover of a rap album. There I am, dressed in black, looking down pensively while clutching my basketball; my weapon of choice.”

IMG_0710“The ‘three’ is for 3-peat, muthafucka!!!”

IMG_0709“This was the start of an ongoing infatuation with baggy white shirts. Also, note how clean my sneakers are! I have over 3,000 pairs and I rarely wear the same pair twice. I also have undiagnosed OCD.”

IMG_0698“Here I am on the steps again. I’ve got my cigar and my headphones on, just chillin. I remember that Ryder Cup shirt, too. Did you know I’m off single-figures? Oh, you did? Good.”

IMG_0715“Talking at some bullshit event. Clinton’s there. Man, we had some crazy good times, me and Bill. The 90s were fucking mental.”

IMG_0700“Here I am, looking fresh again. I’m very famous at this point. Rich. too. They’re actually trying to get me involved in this movie called Space Jam. Haven’t read the script yet, but I’m sure it’s a ripper. Good synergies.”

IMG_0701“You really going to make that call?”

IMG_0704“I just wanted to throw this photo in at the end because it’s so iconic. Look at the elevation, the poise. You know I hit the shot. You just fucking know.”

By Dave Edwards