SO DO ONLY POOFS DO THAT?
By Jane Waterhouse General, Hullabaloo, Must see July 21, 2014 1 7 3
Last Sunday we saw the announcement that Ian Thorpe was gay which Wendy Harmer thought was really no one else’s business. It seemed the nation felt differently.
Ian’s reluctance to “come out” earlier was apparently due to the negativity of the sporting world and his fear that general public would dump on him for being openly gay. Also for the detrimental affect it would have on his career.
On the same weekend, AFL commentator Brian Taylor was slammed and is now “undergoing counselling” after his gay slur on Geelong’s Harry Taylor calling him “a big poofter” for the way he waved (yes, waved), on national telly after a game.
After Brian Taylor’s comments, social media went into meltdown. The AFL and their Players Association condemned the slur and said it was a ‘disrespectful and a disgraceful’ thing to say. Taylor apologised immediately.
Yarra Glen Ruckman Jason Ball who, in 2012 was the first in any level of Aussie rules to talk openly about his homosexuality, argued that Brian showed complete lack of understanding and that his apology, “I’m sorry that I called you gay”, came across as though being gay was an the worst insult you could aim at anyone.
Then on Thursday night, watching Channel Nine’s The Footy Show, as I do with my Football Obsessed Son (FOS) whilst ironing school shirts, I was surprised by the segment called Small Talk with the Big Marn.
In this often cute segment, Darryl Brohman (the Big Marn), a cuddly and gentle bloke, extracts thoughts and insights from Junior (under 12) Rugby League players.
On this night he asked the kids what they did when they lost a game. One kid said,”I go home and cry” and the Big Marn said, “oh, you do not”.
Then the kid next to him said “only poofs do that”… and everyone laughed.
I was perplexed.
Firstly, my son’s enormous passion for footy has seen him cry after a game and I wondered if his mates call him a poofter for that.
I also wondered why The Big Marn didn’t pull the kid up and show himself to be a great role model for the thousands of young boys who watch him.
Or should Channel Nine have just edited that little section out, because it was pre-recorded.
On Sunday morning, watching FOS ( Footy Obsessed Son) warm up for his match at windy La Perouse, I heard a kid call out to another, “catch the ball Billy, you poofter!”
My first thought was, I wonder if he watched The Footy Show?
I know it is ridiculous to think that this kid would have only heard the “poofter” word on telly but I have to wonder if by letting it go to air and attracting a laugh, whether we legitimise the use of the word as a slur?
It was a strange week, but I did learn that only “poofs” can’t catch, or wave… but they can cry.
Should The Footy Show – which has done some great work with raising awareness about mental illness in sport – have edited their piece? Or is it okay because it came out of the mouth of a child?