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Culture, image and Rugby League


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#1 Martyn Sadler

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 12:04 PM

My response to an article written earlier this week in the Sydney Morning Herald by Steve Mascord and reproduced throughout Australia and New Zealand.

 

http://www.totalrl.c...n-rugby-league/



#2 Futtocks

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 12:20 PM

A good counterbalance, Martyn. In professional sport, people barely out of childhood and with very little life experience are shoved into the celebrity goldfish bowl and paid huge amounts of money. A percentage, thankfully small in every sport, will fail to handle it and do stupid things. With some sports, at least, the good guys get some media attention too. With Rugby League, bad behaviour is gleefully given the "they're all like that" treatment.

 

I have enjoyed Steve Mascord's writing for many years, but recently he's shown the occasional sign of disenchantment with TGG. I hope it doesn't last and his faith is restored. 


Edited by Futtocks, 03 July 2014 - 12:20 PM.

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#3 Heritage XIII

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 12:22 PM

Great response. Mascord has really dropped the ball of late. Perhaps he was sick of funding his own trips around the world and the Sydney Morning Herald said 'Steve, if you want to earn a crust with us, you'll have to start trashing the sport of rugby league'.

 

I think it was a grub article made by the grub genre of rugby league journalists in Australia. Mascord used to be one of the good ones but not anymore. These so called journos blatantly mislead & lie. You'd think the world was about to fall in. Out of 500 odd pro players we've had 2-3 indiscretions this season. Now compare that to any other organisation/profession in society-religion, teachers, police, politicians, uni students etc, you'd probably find league placed better in the behaviour stakes. 

 

FFS we had a living legend in Harris convicted for being a pedo. I don't see how they can attack the NRL for the Carney incident. No matter how much education you give players, you are never, in any part of society, have a 100% record of acceptable behaviour.

 

They write as though there should be 100% perfection of behaviour. FFS they are human beings and this utopia type of thinking doesn't exist in society let alone Rugby League.

 

let's not kid ourselves, Mascord is writing to a public wanting to feel superior, wanting to hear a rival code being trashed, or whatever. It has nothing to do with "I'm Steve Mascord and I love RL and want to see change that's why I'm writing this" he knows the damage of his article.

 

I get facebook posts from mascord and he gloated to his fb friends that the Carney incident made Perez Hilton US news. Then he made a post that Carney should form a group called the 'Widdles' (like the Wiggles). I couldn't believe his employer would be impressed by such stupid gloating posts, but then again rugby league is the supposed devil.



#4 boxhead

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 12:52 PM

As I posted in another thread recently regarding Todd Carney.

Mascords articles often make me cringe.

They are either anti the game or aimed at someone a lot younger than me or someone with a very different mindset than I have.

Is he really a big name in the media in Australia???

The Sydney Morning Herald used to be a broadsheet that was more of a Rah Rah's newspaper.

As soon as I see his name I flick past the article and move on.

I have no interest at all in anything he says or thinks.



#5 Northern Sol

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 01:04 PM

A thorough and well reasoned response but I'm surprised that it was printed in full as it was quite lengthy.

 

I wouldn't have as much of an issue with the Mascord piece if it wasn't for the bits about "wallowing in our own filth for 110+ years". He's right that Aussie RL needs to clean up its act, however, this is a recent thing. I don't think players have been acting like morons since the founding of the sport; at least no more than any other group of young men nor do I think that British (or indeed French or New Zealand) RL has quite the same issues.



#6 Johnoco

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 01:20 PM

Bloody good article. Mascord is way off beam here and pretty hysterical, I think he should take a break from the game as he is clearly fed up with it.

I refuse to believe that Steve is unaware of every other sports stars much more serious indiscretions and can only assume he is trying to stir up a lot of comment.

You may feel embarrassed about RL Steve, but I certainly don't. As they say, s hit or get off the pot.

#7 Eldujo

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 02:21 PM

Good on yer Martin.

 

Main thing to always remember with newspapers is their main job is to sell newspapers. If it means writing mock outraged pieces like the above then that's what will be done. A little surprised at Steve Mascord as he's always seemed reasonably positive about the sport in most of the things I've read of his.



#8 redjonn

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 02:41 PM

Fair or unfair as a matter of interest.... what is the perceived image and culture of RL among the wider non RL interested population?



#9 ckn

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 03:31 PM

Who did Todd Carney hurt?  Who did he hit?  What crime did he commit?  A drunken guy making a right fool of himself is about as bad as it gets.  You see far, far worse on a typical night out in a typical town.  If that's what some people are using to have a go at an entire sport then that's just pathetic.


Arguing with the forum trolls is like playing chess with a pigeon.  No matter how good you are, the bird will **** on the board and strut around like it won anyway


#10 Martyn Sadler

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 03:36 PM

Who did Todd Carney hurt?  Who did he hit?  What crime did he commit?  A drunken guy making a right fool of himself is about as bad as it gets.  You see far, far worse on a typical night out in a typical town.  If that's what some people are using to have a go at an entire sport then that's just pathetic.

Spot on!

 

And far more succinctly put than in my article.



#11 Just Browny

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 03:52 PM

Good riposte, Martyn. I find Carney's 'trick' pretty grim and I'm glad I wasn't standing next to him, but it's not worthy of anything like the outpouring of grief, and is nothing to do with the game of rugby league.


I can confirm 30+ less sales for Scotland vs Italy at Workington, after this afternoons test purchase for the Tonga match, £7.50 is extremely reasonable, however a £2.50 'delivery' fee for a walk in purchase is beyond taking the mickey, good luck with that, it's cheaper on the telly.


#12 Lounge Room Lizard

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 04:44 PM

Steve Mascord is correct. The image that our sport has is very poor. The image that many non League fans have is that our game is full of Bogans and Lowlifes. The image many have is that our game is played by and followed by people from the lower end of the social ladder. I , like Steve Mascord love the game and I have put thousands in to the game both following it and developing it. I have travelled a good 5-6 hours to ref a game etc. But I am ashamed of our game and the way a number act at times. I am fed up with the way people bring up the actions of Todd Carney, John Hopoate, Russell Packer, Joel Monaghan etc. I dont expect the game to be free of problems or to be free of the problems that plague society. The actions of these morons damage the game even in such places like USA, Spain, Italy, France, Germany.

 

Todd Carney didnt hurt anybody. He didnt break any laws He made a fool of himself, but more importantly he added to the poor image that Rugby League has both in Australia and worldwide. His sacking was harsh, but was also correct. The damage the actions of Joel Monaghan, John Hopoate, Nate Myles and Todd Carney do to our game is felt much further than just those that follow our game. Heres some articles from the German media 

 

http://www.bild.de/n...86966.bild.html

http://www.handelsbl...al/3629288.html

http://www.t-online....r-in-penis.html

http://www.freiepres...ikel8797866.php

 

 

You add the "Harmless"actions of Carney, Hopoate, Packer, Myles and Monaghan to the "Woman Beating" actions of players like Robert Lui, Issac Gordon, Stuart Reardon, Richie Fa´aoso, Greg Bird. Then add the assault charges of players like Reni Maitua, Russell Packer, Craig Garvey, Jorge Taufua, Anthony Watts, Dylan Walker it gives people plenty of ammo to call Rugby League a sport for Bogans and Lowlifes. Well known former Rugby League player and TV Personality Matty Johns was sacked from Channel 9 after admitting gangbanging women. Then we have the drug confessions of Andrew Johns. The drink Driving Convictions of Willy Mason, Brent Stewart, Paul Carter etc. The various misdemeanors from Players like Ryan Tandy etc. The reality is RUgby League has a major image problem and not just in Australia or the UK but worldwide. People are trying to develop the Sport in the USA, Serbia, Thailand, Canada, Germany, Denmark etc and claiming its a friendly family orientated Sport. People in the UK and Australia are looking to bring women and Children to our game. We dont need morons like Carney etc making the headlines and damaging the Sport and people saying Rugby League is that the Sport with Todd Carney etc? Or parents saying they refuse to let their children watch/play Rugby League because of its poor image. Yes Martyn there are many good things within Rugby League and there are many fine ambassadors. But sadly that is often overlooked or ignored by both the media and people due to the games bad boy reputation which it has. 

 

Our game has given the likes of Anthony Watts, Todd Carney, Blake Ferguson, Greg Bird a good life. Players in the NRL as well as many in SL earn good money and a good lifestyle. But there comes with that responsibility. Players cant do or act like the average person as they are the face of a Club or Game. They cant just get drunk and do daft stuff or go around breaking the law and thinking nothing of it. Its about time the game looked to stop morons like Todd Carney and Blake Ferguson from playing and representing it. I am glad Blake Ferguson was stopped from playing in the NRL. The players need to see they cant just keep acting like drunken louts and that any steps out of line wont be tolerated. We can ignore the problem the game has with its image and reputation or we can look to try and improve it. I hope the game looks to come down hard on players and others that cause the game embarrassment and damage it.



#13 Martyn Sadler

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 05:05 PM

Steve Mascord is correct. The image that our sport has is very poor. The image that many non League fans have is that our game is full of Bogans and Lowlifes. The image many have is that our game is played by and followed by people from the lower end of the social ladder. I , like Steve Mascord love the game and I have put thousands in to the game both following it and developing it. I have travelled a good 5-6 hours to ref a game etc. But I am ashamed of our game and the way a number act at times. I am fed up with the way people bring up the actions of Todd Carney, John Hopoate, Russell Packer, Joel Monaghan etc. I dont expect the game to be free of problems or to be free of the problems that plague society. The actions of these morons damage the game even in such places like USA, Spain, Italy, France, Germany.

 

Todd Carney didnt hurt anybody. He didnt break any laws He made a fool of himself, but more importantly he added to the poor image that Rugby League has both in Australia and worldwide. His sacking was harsh, but was also correct. The damage the actions of Joel Monaghan, John Hopoate, Nate Myles and Todd Carney do to our game is felt much further than just those that follow our game. Heres some articles from the German media 

 

http://www.bild.de/n...86966.bild.html

http://www.handelsbl...al/3629288.html

http://www.t-online....r-in-penis.html

http://www.freiepres...ikel8797866.php

 

 

You add the "Harmless"actions of Carney, Hopoate, Packer, Myles and Monaghan to the "Woman Beating" actions of players like Robert Lui, Issac Gordon, Stuart Reardon, Richie Fa´aoso, Greg Bird. Then add the assault charges of players like Reni Maitua, Russell Packer, Craig Garvey, Jorge Taufua, Anthony Watts, Dylan Walker it gives people plenty of ammo to call Rugby League a sport for Bogans and Lowlifes. Well known former Rugby League player and TV Personality Matty Johns was sacked from Channel 9 after admitting gangbanging women. Then we have the drug confessions of Andrew Johns. The drink Driving Convictions of Willy Mason, Brent Stewart, Paul Carter etc. The various misdemeanors from Players like Ryan Tandy etc. The reality is RUgby League has a major image problem and not just in Australia or the UK but worldwide. People are trying to develop the Sport in the USA, Serbia, Thailand, Canada, Germany, Denmark etc and claiming its a friendly family orientated Sport. People in the UK and Australia are looking to bring women and Children to our game. We dont need morons like Carney etc making the headlines and damaging the Sport and people saying Rugby League is that the Sport with Todd Carney etc? Or parents saying they refuse to let their children watch/play Rugby League because of its poor image. Yes Martyn there are many good things within Rugby League and there are many fine ambassadors. But sadly that is often overlooked or ignored by both the media and people due to the games bad boy reputation which it has. 

 

Our game has given the likes of Anthony Watts, Todd Carney, Blake Ferguson, Greg Bird a good life. Players in the NRL as well as many in SL earn good money and a good lifestyle. But there comes with that responsibility. Players cant do or act like the average person as they are the face of a Club or Game. They cant just get drunk and do daft stuff or go around breaking the law and thinking nothing of it. Its about time the game looked to stop morons like Todd Carney and Blake Ferguson from playing and representing it. I am glad Blake Ferguson was stopped from playing in the NRL. The players need to see they cant just keep acting like drunken louts and that any steps out of line wont be tolerated. We can ignore the problem the game has with its image and reputation or we can look to try and improve it. I hope the game looks to come down hard on players and others that cause the game embarrassment and damage it.

If you read the article again you'll see that I'm not saying the game shouldn't hit hard those who bring it into disrepute.

 

Every incident you mention was dealt with by the NRL or the RFL and a sanction imposed, quite rightly.

 

Incidentally, will you be outraged if the Labour Party doesn't impose a punishment on Ed Balls for incurring a criminal conviction, as he will do when his case comes to court, given how eager you are to punish Rugby League players for much more minor offences.

 

The difficulty is that the more the NRL in particular does that, and the more it tries to micro-manage player behaviour away from the field, the more the 'image' of the game seems to decline. The image is indeed poor, but the question is whether it deserves to be poor in relation to other sports, pastimes and professional activities.

 

You obviously keep a list of player 'outrages' close to hand, and when you list them all together they add up to an impressive number of indiscretions. In fact they go back a long way,and if you went back as far as 1895 I'm sure you'd be able to find even more. And there would be just as many in other sports. But in those cases their journalists and supporters don't seem to carry the weight of them on their shoulders as you obviously do.

 

Unfortunately Rugby League has to deal with some media organisations that have an unsympathetic agenda towards it, whereas other sports seem able to win them over far more effectively. Rugby League has never been powerful in that regard, even in Australia where the game appears to be strong, so I don't see the point in feeding them what they want to consume in places such as Melbourne.



#14 Johnoco

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 05:25 PM

Some players act like idiots occasionally, thats not good and they should be dealt with accordingly.

It's still no reason to damn the whole game. Do you think Man Utd wore sack cloth and ashes when Rooney was found shagging granny prossies? I don't think so. Will soccer beat itself up over the alleged corruption re the Qatar WC and admit it is very corrupt. ..unlikely.

So let's not ignore d-head behaviour but lets not ignore every good thing RL has done in a rush to trash everything.

#15 Futtocks

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 05:32 PM

Martyn's point, if I read it correctly, is that stupid or malevolent actions should be punished properly, but they represent a small fraction of the game, and one that exists in all professional sport. They should be shamed and ridiculed and punished, but should not be used as a broad brush to smear the whole sport which, as anyone without an agenda will admit, is a fine thing, both on and off the pitch.

 

The eagerness of other sports' cheerleaders to jump on all negative press about Rugby League simply makes evident their desperate and hate-filled campaign against a Football code whose only crimes are to exist and be popular.


Edited by Futtocks, 03 July 2014 - 05:33 PM.

A mind is like a parachute. It doesn’t work if it isn’t open. Frank Zappa (1940 - 1993)


#16 Martyn Sadler

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 05:53 PM

Martyn's point, if I read it correctly, is that stupid or malevolent actions should be punished properly, but they represent a small fraction of the game, and one that exists in all professional sport. They should be shamed and ridiculed and punished, but should not be used as a broad brush to smear the whole sport which, as anyone without an agenda will admit, is a fine thing, both on and off the pitch.

 

The eagerness of other sports' cheerleaders to jump on all negative press about Rugby League simply makes evident their desperate and hate-filled campaign against a Football code whose only crimes are to exist and be popular.

Like CKN you've summed it up succinctly.

 

It's worth pointing out that there will always be major and minor indiscretions, no matter how much the NRL tries to operate a 'no dickheds' policy.

 

For all we know, next week an NRL player may find himself needing a leak next to the Sydney Opera House. He'll cock his leg up, and someone with a mobile phone will film it.

 

If it happens, it will be down to that player's foolishness, rather than something inherently wrong with Rugby League as a whole.

 

But we can guarantee that the Australia media won't see it that way.



#17 Lounge Room Lizard

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 06:14 PM

If you read the article again you'll see that I'm not saying the game shouldn't hit hard those who bring it into disrepute.

 

Every incident you mention was dealt with by the NRL or the RFL and a sanction imposed, quite rightly.

 

Incidentally, will you be outraged if the Labour Party doesn't impose a punishment on Ed Balls for incurring a criminal conviction, as he will do when his case comes to court, given how eager you are to punish Rugby League players for much more minor offences.

 

The difficulty is that the more the NRL in particular does that, and the more it tries to micro-manage player behaviour away from the field, the more the 'image' of the game seems to decline. The image is indeed poor, but the question is whether it deserves to be poor in relation to other sports, pastimes and professional activities.

 

You obviously keep a list of player 'outrages' close to hand, and when you list them all together they add up to an impressive number of indiscretions. In fact they go back a long way,and if you went back as far as 1895 I'm sure you'd be able to find even more. And there would be just as many in other sports. But in those cases their journalists and supporters don't seem to carry the weight of them on their shoulders as you obviously do.

 

Unfortunately Rugby League has to deal with some media organisations that have an unsympathetic agenda towards it, whereas other sports seem able to win them over far more effectively. Rugby League has never been powerful in that regard, even in Australia where the game appears to be strong, so I don't see the point in feeding them what they want to consume in places such as Melbourne.

I dont know who Ed Ball is or what he has done. I dont keep a list at all but I do remember things that hit the press here that involves a sport that hardly exists. The various bodies in RUgby League have done some things but it also has allowed or ignored many things that are not acceptable. We live in 2014 and not a time where many things can be shoved under the carpet or ignored. Players will always be under the microscope especially with the media looking for a story. But Rugby League does have a culture to an extent of players breaking the law and doing vile things. Whether you or me like it or not, Rugby League has a bogan reputation. Has it deserved it? I think so as many things have and still go on and accepted. How many chances should we give somebody like Todd Carney, Josh Dugan or Blake Ferguson? It has to do far more than what it has done so far in my opinion to change things. It has to make a stance that the antics of Carney, Ferguson etc wont be tolerated and you risk being frozen out the game. I dont care about what goes on in AFL, Soccer or other sports. 



#18 Blind side johnny

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 06:49 PM

I dont know who Ed Ball is or what he has done. I dont keep a list at all but I do remember things that hit the press here that involves a sport that hardly exists. The various bodies in RUgby League have done some things but it also has allowed or ignored many things that are not acceptable. We live in 2014 and not a time where many things can be shoved under the carpet or ignored. Players will always be under the microscope especially with the media looking for a story. But Rugby League does have a culture to an extent of players breaking the law and doing vile things. Whether you or me like it or not, Rugby League has a bogan reputation. Has it deserved it? I think so as many things have and still go on and accepted. How many chances should we give somebody like Todd Carney, Josh Dugan or Blake Ferguson? It has to do far more than what it has done so far in my opinion to change things. It has to make a stance that the antics of Carney, Ferguson etc wont be tolerated and you risk being frozen out the game. I dont care about what goes on in AFL, Soccer or other sports. 

 

 

Or politics apparently.


Believe what you see, don't see what you believe.


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#19 Bob8

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 06:53 PM

I agree that the incident was minor.  I also agree that if it had been a rugby union player or cricketer, there would be a far more sympathetic response generally.  However, we are not going to be seen reasonably. 

 

I would like to make the comparison to snooker.  It used to have a seedy lowlife image, so they took steps, players could not take part in major championships if they had a criminal record and players were expected to wear dining suits to them.  They may seem absurdly over the top, but it was recognised snooker had an image problem and had to confirm to far higher standards than most other sports.  This is brutally unfair, but it is also reality.

 

Rugby league has the same issue.  Just as snooker effectively cleaned up its image, rugby league has to take actions that might seem seemingly over the top (though perhaps not playing in dining suits - or morning suits depending on kick off time).


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#20 Johnoco

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 07:12 PM

I agree that the incident was minor. I also agree that if it had been a rugby union player or cricketer, there would be a far more sympathetic response generally. However, we are not going to be seen reasonably.

I would like to make the comparison to snooker. It used to have a seedy lowlife image, so they took steps, players could not take part in major championships if they had a criminal record and players were expected to wear dining suits to them. They may seem absurdly over the top, but it was recognised snooker had an image problem and had to confirm to far higher standards than most other sports. This is brutally unfair, but it is also reality.

Rugby league has the same issue. Just as snooker effectively cleaned up its image, rugby league has to take actions that might seem seemingly over the top (though perhaps not playing in dining suits - or morning suits depending on kick off time).


You have a point but I would argue that the situation is nowhere near as bad as some are making out.
Last time I checked RL was played by humans. As such some of them will be idiots and act as such. I aren't going to accept responsibility for these individuals and neither should the whole game of RL.