Home > Uncategorized > #Dickileaks is an institutional scandal, not a sexual one

#Dickileaks is an institutional scandal, not a sexual one

December 30, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

I began my coverage of Dickileaks by expressing the view that Nick Riewoldt was making a huge PR blunder by engaging in the story with a tone of such unwarranted self-importance (Get over yourself, Nick Riewoldt).  This, I predicted, would give the story untold legs because he set himself up as a paragon of offended virtue instead of a silly but ultimately decent young man who should have known better than to allow a photo of his waxed and waning genitals. Ditto Del Santo and the others.

St Kilda’s woes were greatly deepened by their unwise decision to throw the book at the girl who distributed the photos.  While she was undeniably silly for diving head-first into this pitiless milieu, I have never presumed to adopt a moral stance on her conduct.  16-year olds have sex with men in their late teens and twenties all the time; they get angry and vengeful about it in the aftermath fairly regularly too. Outrage at such things would be as futile a waste of energy as hurling a ping pong ball into a Wellington southerly.  We live in a culture that presents these players, often explicitly, as sexual objects.  Millions of marketing dollars are spent in pursuit of exactly this.  How is it even remotely surprising that girls (and gay boys, for that matter) regard these players as extremely desirable, especially at a stage in their development characterised by great emotional turmoil and burgeoning sexuality?  It isn’t, of course.  It isn’t surprising as much as COMPLETELY AND UTTERLY PREDICTABLE.

Taking sexual advantage of these star-struck teens is a far more morally problematic, of course, but my main intention has not been to condemn the players for their stupidity and arrogance, either.  Society is kidding itself to expect any more from them.

The real scandal here is that the St Kilda Football Club and its AFL Papa Bear threw this girl under a speeding bus.  They did so as part of a cynical and carefully executed public relations and legal strategy — in order to protect this laughable facade of moral righteousness.

The misogyny this has unleashed among its supporters (in Twitter and elsewhere) reveals too much for St Kilda’s liking about the ethos they defend:  players should fuck who they want, when they want, without cost or consequence.

The sexual antics of footy players, distasteful and morally questionable perhaps, are far less troubling to me than the rank institutional hypocrisy that has been employed in its defense.

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  1. John Ryan
    December 30, 2010 at 13:55

    Yes but the AFL and its Sports journalist camp followers have always been rank hypocrites and lacked guts whenever an AFL scandal emerges they either kill it ASAP or downplay it and compare it to other codes while praising the AFL to the skys.
    The ABC TV show Offsiders is a classic example it consists of 4 nodding AFL dogs whose silence in this is remarkable,while having orgasms over NRL and other codes players problems.
    Good column

  2. December 30, 2010 at 15:04

    How did the Saints/AFL throw the girl “under a speeding bus”? Is that meant by them threating legal action against the girl? I understand that many, probably me included, think they went too hard on that one, but when the girl was continuing to threaten more photos and wasn’t responding to the courts, they probably saw this as the best way to get her attention. It might have been over the top, but it worked. If they follow through with the threats, then this would be a different story.

    Your line about fans on twitter: ” players should fuck who they want, when they want, without cost or consequence” is partly how I feel. I feel that way up to the second comma. I would then change my feeling to be “then wear any cost or consequence”. I don’t see its the AFL or Saints or any other clubs responsibility to clean up after their players, but they do. I don’t think that these organisations should be blamed for their players activity (assuming its not at a club event) either, but again they are, meaning that they do need to try to help their players through the issues they get themselves in. Also the Clubs/AFL try to make their players better people. There not always going to succeed but personally I think the fact they try should be a credit to them. You can only do so much and then the individual needs to take responsibility for their own actions.
    JMTC

  3. Michelle
    December 30, 2010 at 15:20

    “The misogyny this has unleashed among its supporters (in Twitter and elsewhere) reveals too much for St Kilda’s liking about the ethos they defend: players should fuck who they want, when they want, without cost or consequence.”

    The hatred attached to these comments disturb me greatly – and worries me that those of us who speak out against this type of behaviour in both famous and non-famous players are targets for lynch mob behaviour by a bunch of vastly unintelligent beings who don’t seem to understand consequence.

  4. December 30, 2010 at 20:08

    I agree and would add that their failure to supervise and guide young men who engage in this paper and channel their understandable sex drive into more productive safer options.

    The club should be monitoring their behaviour to reduce the carnage to society whilst also protecting the reputation of the club and the game.

    Members of the public look up to them as role models and they are quite negative role models if they are allowed to behave properly. The impact of that is grave.

    You have to ask yourself would you be happy if they were behaving this way when setting the standard. If they have club officials and heavyweights protecting them from the consequences of their own actions they wouldn’t be facing such a backlash.

    I had the same reaction you did to Nick’s overly self-righteous indignation. It smacked of I am sorry that my mate betrayed me rather than it was regrettable as a captain that I behaved that way in front of a camera, even though it was a failure.

    The team officials should be recognising publicly in a consistent manner to reognise that she has been savaged. We had Demetriou sympathising for this disturbed girl “with issues” wanting to support her and a football club wanting to savage her in court and put her on a legal leash for 15 years.

    There it is a lot of differential treatment of ARL and AFL players but far less scrutiny in AFL for various reasons.

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