Message to the AFL Accredited Media

Dear Invertebrates,

I realise your accreditation depends on presenting favourable coverage, but is there any danger of you ever deviating to the realm of reality and accurately informing the footy public? This is becoming more than a little tiresome.

On Friday night, I watched a disgusting incident, an unsightly blight on the game, but even more disgusting has been the coverage thereof.

Brian Lake and Drew Petrie were involved in a minor scuffle. This behaviour is common on the football field, as athletes fight to display physical dominance in unnecessary off-the-ball incidents.

However, events were escalated beyond the typical juvenile show of strength when Petrie made ‘unreasonable and unnecessary contact’ to the face of Lake. Or in non-tribunal speak, he attempted to gouge the eyes of his opponent. Lake understandably, but equally despicably, reacted by choking Petrie.

Coverage of the incident has been focused entirely upon the reaction, while ignoring the actions of the instigator. The few commentators that considered Petrie’s actions inverted the order of events and used Lake’s reaction as justification for the disgraceful act which preceded it, thereby exonerating him of the charge.

Eye gouging is a serious offence with potentially permanent, life-altering results. It has historically been referred directly to the tribunal and attracted bans of up to 6 weeks. For Petrie to be offered a reprimand shows an appalling lack of judgement. Petrie’s behaviour has no place on the football field and should not be condoned in any way, shape or form.

Hopefully North Melbourne appeal the reprimand, as they have suggested they will, and Petrie receives the lengthy ban befitting the crime.

It is time for those who claim to be journalists to show the impartiality and integrity befitting the label. A journalist’s role is not to suppress or distort facts in order to protect the image of the game or its incompetent administration. Report the facts.

Any commentator not condemning Petrie and the Match Review Panel (and the majority of their media colleagues, for that matter) in relation to this incident should be deeply ashamed of their inaction and the vile behaviour it enables.

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  1. #1 by KB on July 7, 2014 - 11:14 pm

    Not with you on this one. I watched it may times before commenting. Lake was from the start intent on blocking Petrie from breathing, first with his shoulder. Petrie struggled and flailed, not gouged at eyes. Then Lake went the ‘sleeper’. I think you got this one wrong.


    • #2 by Steven Williamson on July 7, 2014 - 11:35 pm

      Interesting. That’s the first time I’ve ever heard of someone attempting to choke someone else with their shoulder. They were wrestling, typical behaviour that usually peters out. Lake didn’t grab at Petrie’s throat until after he copped fingers in his face.


  2. #3 by KB on July 8, 2014 - 7:43 pm

    C’mon, Steven, I didn’t write ‘choke with shoulder’, but ‘blocking breathing’. Shoulder or hand, the result is loss of consciousness eventually. Something to avoid. Anyway it is 4 weeks. Love your work on the Bombers farce BTW.


    • #4 by Steven Williamson on July 8, 2014 - 8:06 pm

      That wasn’t supposed to be a defence of Lake. Clearly he initiated the wrestle, and by any measure was ‘winning’.

      My point is the media blatantly disregarded the facts, repeatedly claiming ‘if someone has their hands around your throat, is compressing your trachea and you’re on the verge of blacking out, you are entitled to defend yourself’. Those circumstances never existed.

      Both were guilty and one was excused to spare the backlash. AFL, and it’s media both loudly proclaimed ‘move along, nothing to see here’ in spite of clear video footage to the contrary. It’s a farce, and for the exact same reason as the ASADA debacle: brand management.


  3. #5 by KB on July 8, 2014 - 8:36 pm

    As a Bombers supporter I share your suspicion of and distain for the media. Not taken as a defense of Lake. Your original point was Petrie attempting to eye-gouged and that that had been ‘media-ated’. I don’t think he did, that’s all, but head contact, yes. But Petrie did start to look a bit desperate for air there. I live in Japan and dumped all my on-line newspapers in protest at their ASADA-AFL bias. I probably missed their latest beat up on Lake. A gaggle of dedicated Bombers send me your links – I look forward to the next.


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