Bolt has missed the mark on AFL

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Andrew Bolt’s position on the AFL seen in the Herald Sun.


Last night Andrew Bolt came out claiming that the “the Left wing is the AFL’s key position” and the AFL is supporting only “Left” causes.

To believe the AFL is being “hijacked” by the Left is simply as accurate as the existence of Malcolm Turnbull’s AFL team, “The Roosters.”

For example, the AFL have been in disagreement with the Greens Party about allocating more Grand Final tickets to competing club members and everyday supporters. The AFL have also complained about the $30 parking fee at Etihad Stadium of which $10 goes to the “Left” run Andrew’s Labor State Government. Mr Bolt also completely ignores that although there is the AFLW which pushes for gender inclusiveness, many of the football media panels are still mostly lead by white, cis, males – like that seen in the Liberal Party.

I think Mr Bolt is confusing “Left” with progression of some in the AFL towards “a fair go.”

The increase in conversation and opinion by some within the AFL towards the legalisation of same-sex marriage has certainly come about after the first season of AFLW. It isn’t any surprise that many of the AFLW players are in same-sex and gender diverse relationships as seen in the kiss of Best and Fairest Player, Erin Phillips, and wife, Tracy. It’s obvious that those directly impacted by same-sex marriage are going to be more outspoken along with those who support them.

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So considering that so many of the AFLW players are openly in the LGBT community but also that the legalisation of same-sex marriage is a majority held position in this country now, it’s clear the AFL acts on fan base, the welfare of its players and equality; Hence, “Pride Round.” However, even though the AFL has Pride Round that doesn’t necessarily mean “Marriage Equality Round.”

Similarly, race also plays a part in the welfare of AFL players. Mr Bolt has expressed annoyance with “Reconciliation Round that pushes the Recognise campaign.” Quick fact check, it’s Sir Doug Nicholls Indigenous Round. Secondly, if a little more research was taken to truly know many in the Left’s stance on the Recognise campaign there would be the understanding that lots do not like it and/or find it problematic (which can be read more about here.)

Although I want to believe the AFL have rounds like Sir Doug Nicholls Indigenous Round and Multicultural Round simply for progressiveness, sadly that isn’t really the case. The AFL have to campaign for these rounds to address issues within the AFL like racist sledging. Also to ensure that players in AFL have the support of the organisation and “a fair go” especially when having to face challenges related to culture and race outside the standard experience of others that play the game. And according to the the Racial Discrimination Act (which I think Mr Bolt is well aware of) the AFL have to take measures from a legal standpoint. However, this isn’t really about law (like Pride Round isn’t really) it is about inclusiveness, getting the best out of the players to optimise the AFL organisation and the health and wellbeing of all of those involved in AFL.

And Mr Bolt’s worry that Free Speech is being ignored by the AFL is quite the contrary. For generations AFL players were criticised for not being admirable role models. Now, especially with social media, players and media personalities use their football platforms to speak freely about what they believe in and being good role models is taken more seriously (like in the video he attached to his article.) They aren’t bullying the AFL, they are being conscionable citizens. I think perhaps Mr Bolt just doesn’t agree with the position held by those involved in the AFL using “Free Speech.”

Furthermore, Mr Bolt suggests the AFL should campaign for conservative “causes” like an AFL “Cut Tax Round.” He knows the average AFL (men’s) player earns $302,104, right? That means the majority of AFL players are taxed at the highest rate. If anyone was going to benefit from such a Round it would be football players themselves so I imagine if this was something they wanted, it’d be happening.

He also suggests the The National Anthem should be played at every game. Well, it is played at every AFL final but I want Mr Bolt to point me in the direction of a major sport, played regularly, in Australia that plays the National anthem at every game? Even the leagues played in more conservative demographics don’t do this. Or is it Mr Bolt’s point of view that most sports in Australia are now “Lefties”?

Even if Mr Bolt’s analysis that the AFL are playing Left politics was true, the coming together of record breaking crowds (and yes, paid ticket attendance) show that football fans are not dismayed. So aside from politics, this seems to be a great business plan by the AFL…of which I’m sure even conservatives can appreciate.


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