OPINION: They should lose their sponsorship money and step back entirely from the sport. ANNIE YOUNG

It would appear that sportsmen are taking a leaf out of the book of politicians at present. We have many, many great sportsmen of course, but what a pity that a few with attitude can spoil it for everyone, in much the same way as there are a few wayward politicians that spoil it for everyone.

This is happening in Australia, a country which once believed in giving everyone a fair go – a country which prided itself on ‘playing the ball, not the man’...or so I believed.

I watched the sour face of Bernard Tomic this week as he stumbled through a half-hearted apology/explanation, announcing his boredom with tennis but arrogantly considering it quite acceptable to receive a $60,000 bonus for simply turning up.

Nick Kyrgios, another idol of our young players, was equally pathetic as he again called off play after a set or two, claiming yet another injury and then partied all night at a London nightclub. They should both lose their sponsorship money and step back entirely from the sport. Unfairly they are bringing all of our Australian tennis players into disrepute with their poor behaviour.

Ali Fahour lost his football livelihood in administration when the Northern Football League tribunal slapped him with a 14-week ban, which exceeded the threshold for a lifetime ban from football, for striking. 

Interestingly, however, there appears to be two sets of rules operating here, because two other AFL football players, this time playing in the top league, were given four and six weeks respectively for a similar on-field incident.

Admittedly, Bachar Houli and Tom Bugg didn’t have the record of bad behaviour that Fahour had.

At its best, AFL football is a game of skill and grace. At its worst, it is one of thuggery. Football has taken pride in the past for not having a thuggish approach to the game...well, no longer. It is now firmly entrenched, judging by the games we watch today.

I won’t even mention rugby. I can’t go there, it is so brutal.

In the same week, we also watched the unedifying sight of two boxers punching each other senseless.

Reading the reports emerging of old boxers who end up concussed permanently, memory shot to pieces, suffering from a plethora of brain damage like creeping damp,  it is horrifying. The boxing arena is the only sporting venue where two people are actually legally entitled to punch their opponent senseless, while crowds bay for more blood and brutality. ’Bring it on Caesar’.

Australian boxer Jeff Horn defeated Phillipino Manny Pacquiao. Horn was given a ticker-tape parade and the keys to city hall. Why would crowds applaud someone whose aim is to punch his opponent into oblivion? Does this primal urge really need pricking?

What a contradiction between two sports – one fined for a knockout punch, the other awarded a ticker-tape reception, in a major city, for a knockout punch.

Parents are at last questioning the ethics of these violent games.

Figures show that many children are turning to soccer rather than AFL football, and with good reason. AFL football has become more violent and too many players go unpunished.

Your children need the best brains they can muster to achieve success today in a competitive world. Sport is important but it must be safe at all levels. It’s up to administrators to ensure that safety.

ANNIE YOUNG

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