How the Teachers of Questionable Authority Ruined the NRL

The biggest story on the Eastern seaboard over the past few days has been about one man. Newcastle Knights half-back Andrew Johns. Even the the PM got involved. Bugger the Middle East or British terrorist plots. It is all about the footy in the end. As it should be.

For those unfortunates in the non-NRL states, the controversy is over Johns, one of the all-time greats, calling Matt Cecchin, a touch judge, a “f*****g c**t” .This was after the ref and the touchies missed a blatant knock on by Manly as Newcastle were pressing the Sea Eagles line trying for a last gasp win. Even with the sound turned down it was obvious to anyone watching the footage what Johns said. He even verbally sprayed the match officials again as they were walking off the field.

All sorts of excuses have been made. Joey is passionate, he was frustrated and its a man’s game. Also the refs are all blind as bats and have no idea of the rules. Actually the last point may be true. But Joey, being the frustrated, passionate man’s man he is, took it like a man and copped a two week suspension. Given Newcastle have the bye this week he’ll be ready for the first week of the finals.

But within all the excuses, it was NRL CEO David Gallop with an insightful social observation who fingered the real culprit:

At a time the younger age groups are taught to question authority, the discipline problems experienced by police and school teachers are impacting on referees

Yes folks. It is the fault of…of…of those teachers of questionable authority. No need to name them. We all know who they are. Just think about it. Somewhere, right at this very moment, some teacher of questionable authority is urging students to disobey stop signs, ignore no smoking around flammable liquids signs, drive in which ever direction they choose down one way streets and to swear at touch judges because it is just the Man, or Woman, laying down rules of oppression.

Of course, one other excuse hasn’t been offered as of yet. And that is we tend place our favourite sportsmen above the game and outside the usual norms of society. Censure of behaviour that your average joey blow would abide by is not good enough for our sporting heroes. They have their own rules and are to be rewarded by the fans and media for transgressing the usual polite rules of society.

Then again it is the greatest player in the game. And it is not like that we have precedents in excusing sports stars of all manner of behaviours.

No. The problem is the teachers of questionable authority poisoning our childrens’ minds.

Cross posted at Larvatus Prodeo.

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Ken Parish
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Ken Parish(@ken-parish)
15 years ago

I think you’re misreading Gallop. He is suggesting that referees are now experiencing the same problems as teachers and police with yoof who habitually question and defy their authority and have no respect for it allied with a default stance of aggrieved entitlement. He isn’t blaming either the teachers, police or referees for the problem. Of course the older generation has always lamented about yoof in not dissimilar terms, but I think he has a point nonetheless, and lots of beleauguered high school teachers would agree with me.

Bring Back EP at LP
Bring Back EP at LP
15 years ago

This was an absolute disgrace with more excuses for the problem than given for the invasion of Iraq.

I tell the boys I coach whether football or cricket they have to respect the umpire/ref, the other team and their own players.

johns couldn’t even do that.

He deserved to be put out to pasture for the rest of the year!

Shaun
15 years ago

I’m not bagging teachers Ken. The Beloved is a high school teacher so I know their problems all too well. I was having ago as the idea of these mysterious forces in society affecting the yoof of today. Of course there is a larger discussion about these forces and where they come from but I wasn’t pinning it on the good teachers.

I admit I was harsh on Gallop but I was having some fun with the rhetoric. What got my goat was the uncritical support of Johns from some camps. While his transgression is nothing like those of Carey or Warne, the excuses for Johns come from that same adulation where sporting greats are not held accountable for their actions.

wpd
wpd
15 years ago

Team Johns threatened the NRL and they dogged it. Tell me again about how the individual is not greater than the game.

I thought that the Team Johns’ threat was idiotic because it would give the NRL no wriggle room. But the bullies have won again. Not a great look for the NRL.

Ken Parish
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Ken Parish(@ken-parish)
15 years ago

No, no, no. Joey eventually apologised (better late than never), so honour and discipline are served, and we get to see the game’s greatest player trying to lift a fairly ordinary Knights team into a premiership. I don’t think even Johns can do it, but I’m looking forward to watching him give it his best shot. It’s a win-win situation and football’s the biggest winner. Gosh I love cliches. One day I’ll manage to write an entire post without a single original expression.

C.L.
15 years ago

The over-rated Johns – about half as good as Wally Lewis was – carried on like a nancy and I wish the NRL had called his bluff and sent him crying to Blighty where the whinging cry-baby probably belongs.

Bring Back EP at LP
Bring Back EP at LP
15 years ago

Ken, cliches are a dime a dozen

wpd
wpd
15 years ago

On reflection. Gallop shouldn’t wear the blame for this disgraceful back down. The odium belongs with the judiciary.

PS, I agree that the original charge was ‘over the top’ but backing down in the face of a concerted media campaign makes the NRL a laughing stock.

Shaun
15 years ago

Johns was on the Newcastle Happy Tribute Hour tonight (known as the NRL Footy Show in most TV Guides) and whilst he got a series of soft questions about the issue he was apologetic and I give him credit for finally coming to his senses. He did deny some of the guff that his manager was spreading (going to England) which I find hard to believe.

Actually I don’t think I’ve seen a Footy Show where the first 10 minutes is not about the Knights (AFL version excluded). Matty and the Chief seem to have a lock in for the first 10 minutes for anything Newcastle.

Amanda
15 years ago

Jealousy is a terrible thing.

derrida derider
derrida derider
15 years ago

Johns should have been immediately sent from the field. And four weeks for that is not over the top – how easy do you think it’ll be to get people to take up refereeing if you allow that sort of stuff to stand?

But cl is wrong – I reckon he’s at least as good as Lewis (a fiveeighth, not a half, BTW), though maybe not as good as Sterling.

Ken Parish
Admin
Ken Parish(@ken-parish)
15 years ago

But Johns essentially plays the same position and fulfills the same function as King Wally used to in general play – one or two off the ruck. These days (and indeed for the last decade or so) hookers have always played the dummy half role that previosuly was often filled by the half. Hence these days the roles of half and 5/8 are to an extent interchangeable.

I agree that Johns is every bit as good as Lewis was, even though it’s hard to compare players of different eras. I must say, though, that I don’t know why you’re bringing Peter Sterling into the mix. He wasn’t a bad half in his day, but I’d put a few more recent players in front of him, including Ricky Stuart as well as Johns.

Bring Back EP at LP
Bring Back EP at LP
15 years ago

in your dreams gentlemen.

King Wally was better than either easily. He knew the importance of the fast pass which he gained from Thugby Union. He was also a MUCH better tackler

Rafe Champion
Rafe Champion
15 years ago

Much as I admire Peter Sterling there is no comparison. Johns tackles like an extra forward, or used to, and he controls both attack and defence in a way that Sterling never did.

Sterling was a competent kicker and the art has advanced since then, with Johns setting the standard.

On top of that he regularly converts tries from the sideline.

And like all the very greatest players, he has got such a competitive spirit and so much confidence that he is likely to be the game breaker, the person who puts on the big play when it most matters. Wally was a bit like that. You can’t buy it.