Tags: social conscience

Cheryl, I see you published an article in the paper a while back about the shocking attack on your husband by some nasty thugs, who’d been assaulting a woman at the time. This you see as the result of a decline in character of young people, their refusal to take responsibility for their actions and learn respect for others. Your suggested solution is boot camp and national service – “and that’s just for the parents.”

Nowhere in your article did I see any mention of one of the most problematic breeding grounds for violent and sexist behaviour: football. The milieu and culture in which your husband is an elder statesman.

I’m not suggesting for a moment here that Ron is part of the problem. What I do suggest is that he uses his remaining years to do the valuable and necessary work of changing the warped culture that has grown up around footballers and the kind of young men who would aspire to be like them. These people are the poster children for the very things you complain are destroying our culture.

A pack mentality, greed, consumer madness, lack of a social conscience and drugs — especially ice — were to blame for an increase in violence, she told The Age.

Hmm. Pack mentality? Check. Greed? Check. Consumer madness and lack of a social conscience? Check. Drugs? Check. Ice? Check. But why stop there? I can think of more – the culture of misogyny, rape and sexual assault, binge drinking, getting your old fella out in public, and general bad behaviour typifying the young, blokey and entitled. Oh, and Sam Newman.

As for the subject of parents: well

It seems the AFL and other football codes have made some efforts to address this culture over the last few years, but it looks as if it’s an uphill battle against the enormous pressure for young blokes to interpret manliness as drunkenness, loutishness and treating women like toilets. Some people excuse this with some misty-eyed notion of a “tradition” of “larrikinism”, which was hard enough to live with in the streets of colonial Victoria but has simply morphed into a gangland version of the Lifestyles of the rich, famous and thick. And little Jamie and Brayden from Footymad Primary are picking up on it. Plenty of parents don’t want their kids playing Aussie Rules football for that very reason. Think about it.

It’s time Ron threw his considerable weight behind all AFL campaigns which are trying to address the problems you complain about – drugs, violence, attitude towards women. He has standing in the football world and he should use it.