So it’s okay as long as there are no women around?

With a big side order of ‘you shouldn’t have even been there bitch‘. The Monday following the Grand Final weekend is called ‘Mad Monday’. It is a recovery day, a day of celebration or perhaps a day of ‘oh so close, but next year that trophy will be ours’ and what a great season we had. All well and good. Until someone makes stunningly sexist remarks about a female reporter, and then someone else defends their right to make those remarks.

”I am 110 per cent behind the Canterbury club. There was an expectation of privacy and these kids had dropped their guard and they were goofing off. They are in their 20s and they may say things that in public they would not say … even in semi-public, sensible professionals like Alan Jones still make dreadful mistakes and these are only kids.”

Major Bulldogs sponsor, G Johnston of Jaycar Electronics.

So if Alan Jones does it, and is forced to apologise, it is okay? That woman shouldn’t have been there anyway, so that sort of attitude is okay? They are only kids they will grow out of it so it is okay?

No, it is not okay. Whether it was a player or a friend or family member that attitude towards women is never okay. It doesn’t matter that it was a ‘semi-private’ function. That shit is as out of order at a family BBQ as it is on national radio. Women make up 51% of the fucking population buddy. They are partners, wives, sisters, mothers, aunties, friends etc etc of that team you sponsor. Without women giving birth you wouldn’t have a fucking team to sponsor. A little respect goes a long way.

For decades, it has been an unwritten practice that media can briefly attend Mad Monday celebrations for footage and interviews with players.

Which brings into question the claim that the media weren’t meant to be there.

Dib and Greenberg have worked hard in the past four years to rebuild the Bulldogs’ trashed brand in the wake of the Coffs Harbour group sex scandal and a series of alcohol-related incidents in 2008.

“This is not the way the Bulldogs football club runs its business,” Greenberg said. “We’ve spent the past four years maintaining an image around our club, and this is certainly not an accurate representation of who we are and what we stand for.

“We have a code of conduct in place, and we will follow that through and deal with it appropriately and professionally.

“Players and staff were upset with how the club was positioned. A small minority has stepped out of the crease. You can be sure club management will be making sure they will step back in the crease.”

Unfortunately this brings the whole club into disrepute, which is unfair on the players, staff, family and friends who were at the function but not responsible for this disgusting outburst.

I certainly won’t be spending any of my hard earned at Jaycar Electronics, and I am seriously thinking of writing to the Bulldogs to ask them to consider looking for another major sponsor. One that respects women and upholds the aims of the NRL to become more inclusive and family friendly. Thankfully the NRL is looking into the issue and an apology has been made to the female reporter involved. At least some know how to treat a human being.

Categories: Culture, gender & feminism, media

Tags: ,

9 replies

  1. “these are only kids”
    No. At 20-something they are adults.
    Or should be.

    • Just an admin note to Sheryl – your comments were automoderated because you made a typo in your email address, so the software treated you as a new commentor. That’s also why your avatar isn’t showing.

  2. That s*** is as out of order at a family BBQ as it is on national radio. Women make up 51% of the fucking population buddy. They are partners, wives, sisters, mothers, aunties, friends etc etc of that team you sponsor.

    Not to mention that some members of the remaining 49% of the population may not appreciate people disrespecting their sisters, mothers, daughters, female friends and colleagues, etc.
    One of the main reasons I generally avoid men’s groups is that for some reason, male “bonding” seems to require heavy doses of misogyny.[*] This is true even among supposedly “liberal” men.
    [*] I have this image of a keg party with taps marked “Budweiser”, “Michelob”, and “Misogyny”. Any cartoonists out there?

  3. This recent case is relevant as it’s an example of how far an employer can respond to what an employee says/writes in what they believe is a private situation. Comments were mostly racist, rather than sexist though.

  4. Comments on FB are a little bit different to comments made directly at someone in an area where others can hear though. Also, because it involved a sporting club with a reputation to uphold I think they can call it bringing the game or the club into disrepute. Especially since they have been making an effort given past issues.

  5. ta, tigtog. How embarrassment. I could try to blame it on a silly little iPad keypad, but maybe it was just too late at night …
    From the Australian link:

    A remark referring to his manager as a “bacon hater” was in poor taste, but not derogatory or intended to be hurtful.
    Comments of a sexual nature posted about a female manager were outrageous but most of the remarks had been made by others in a Facebook conversation.

    The difficulty for a judge, I imagine, would be determining intent. Though I’m struggling to see the difference between “poor taste” and “derogatory” in the case reported by The Australian.
    I fear that this opens the way for people to say all sorts of things and, when caught out, to claim either “I didn’t mean to hurt you” or “it was said in a private context”. What a minefield. I am very glad to be no longer working in HR.

  6. Mindy – yes I wasn’t aware that the comments were made to a woman directly rather than talking about her in a semi-private situation (there was initially an allegation that the reporter had used a parabolic mic to listen in from a distance). So it is quite a different situation.
    Working from the title of this post about whether what we say in private (or what we reasonably believe is a private situation) I think there’s something to be learnt. Certainly the players would have signed contracts that allow them to be punished for their behaviour even in private (eg. some are restricted from consuming any alcohol even in private). And it sounds a bit like one of the reasons that FWA found that the dismissal was unfair was because the company didn’t have a policy on social media (can bet they have one now!).
    But do we want employers to be able to police our private behaviour which is inadvertently exposed? For high profile people the general feeling in the community seems to be its ok. But this may also flow down to the more ordinary workers as well.

  7. I don’t want to conflate the behaviour and a workers right to privacy here. Your employer shouldn’t be able to police your private thoughts as was demonstrated in the FB case IMO. However, when your work has a public element to it and you could be seen as a role model, however unwilling you are, then they do have a right and I think a responsibility to protect their brand.
    My biggest gripe is that the sponsor didn’t see their attitude as problematic, especially for a club that has gone through some big scandals surrounding their treatment of women and the overall attempts by the NRL to become more family orientated. If the sponsor doesn’t see the alienation of a significant part of the fan base as an issue then I think the sponsor needs to have a little re-think.
    So, sure, think what you like, but make sure that you don’t go yelling it out where other people can hear outside of your immediate circle, or indeed saying it at a ticketed dinner as the guest speaker.

  8. I totally agree with you re: the sponsor.
    However, I do think that employers are increasingly seeing all employees, whether they officially have a public role or not to a certain extent representing the company they work for. Especially if the employee and the employer end up linked in the general media even though that was never the intent of the employee.
    At the very least an employer has a duty of care to the other employees. So if one employee makes inappropriate private statements about another employee that accidentally become public (bad facebook permissions, 3rd party retweeting, for example) then the employer really has to take some action. Otherwise the target of the comments could quite reasonably feel that they are being discriminated against in the workplace because they have to work with that person.

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