I suppose it was a slight folly becoming a sports contributor on a new website at the beginning of the summertime. The soap opera that is top flight European football and the bruising beauty of European rugby are in hiatus. I am not in the humour to discuss GAA as Limerick’s summer is over at senior level, our underage players have yet to catch the choking disease we contracted in 1994. I could spend hours lambasting Joe Brolly, not over his analysis, but his stupid face. Even RTE acknowledged this by removing him from the panel for Michael Lyster’s return from illness. I think you can guess the tone of the article from here.
I’ve been sitting on a bug bear since May. In the run up to the cakewalk that was deemed to be fight of the century Mayweather’s history of domestic abuse came to the fore. There were commentators a plenty outraged and disgusted by this individual’s actions. People were actively campaigning to boycott the fight in order to affect his PPV dividend. However, after the fight it was all forgotten about because something else was on and there was more opportunity for righteous indignation. Domestic violence is a complicated matter. If we are to address that issue then we have to ask uncomfortable questions like; how do we help an individual not to mete out violence? People found it easy to call him every name under the sun. What they did not consider was that he has known nothing but violence and enjoyed a fractious relationship with his father, who by the way happened to be shot in front of Mayweather junior when he was a child. Does it excuse his actions? Of course not, but let’s talk like adults. Domestic abuse is a societal problem, stop asking sports stars to be beacons of virtue for our kids. That’s our job. If we are to follow the boycotting of all media and sports that accommodates domestic violence then you best sit in a cave, there is nowhere to hide. This article would devolve into a list of fiends from every walk of life. Even a beloved crooner like Bing Crosby has been called a cruel man by his children, Bing for crying out loud.
Currently our response to intricate issues like domestic violence is to listen to media commentators who make ill researched comparisons and make clarion calls. Like one individual, who shall remain nameless mainly because I can’t remember or care about it, was so virtuous that he would not pay the €25 to stay up until 6 in the morning to watch the fight. Martyr for the cause so he was. He went on to draw comparisons between Mayweather and Jon Jones, the former UFC champion who was stripped of his title after a hit and run incident. He implored all of the boxing organisations to follow suit and strip Mayweather. The commentator waxed lyrical about the UFC’s actions. What he omitted from the story was that Jones was a serial offender who was on a final warning. He also omitted the fact that there have been a number of high profile woman beaters on the UFC roster, but his point had to be made didn’t it. We are also now in the funny position where Ronda Rousey is calling out Floyd Mayweather and threatening to whoop him, but took the time to introduce Mike Tyson to her mam. Now, I do not want to rag on UFC, I like it for the most part, but of late their followers have been engaging in age old behaviour. Since McGregor’s star has been on the rise I see nothing but bitter diatribes from ‘true’ UFC followers bemoaning the band wagon jumpers who haven’t been watching the sport as long as they have. The real die-hards will tell you they remember Randy Couture in his prime. What they really mean is that their first introduction to UFC was a repeat episode of Friends, you know the one where Pete gets his ass whipped.
Of course the UFC lads are not alone in this, every sport has legions of fans who declare ownership of their sport and get apoplectic when new supporters arrive and are not utterly reverential of them. Forget the players, the long-time supporter is the one to be admired. Anytime a Munster supporter of a certain age tells you that he was in Thomond Park in 1978, they actually expect you to kneel and kiss their ring. At least rugby fans are grown-ups when it comes to transfers though. Since the summer soccer transfer window opened we have been exposed to huge numbers of grown men who seem to be angry at a young footballer for wanting to play football for a different club. They seem to be aghast that an individual with a career that lasts roughly 12 years, wants to make as much money for himself as humanly possible. It really is a case of ‘insert name here’ These people cannot comprehend that a young person does not want to stay at club until he is deemed surplus to requirements or replaced by a ‘better’ player and where he’ll be forgotten by the very people who are angry at his lack of loyalty. Ex-players and fan club bloggers will lament the lack of fibre in the game. I mean, these young footballers have to raise the supporter’s kids for crying out loud.
I bloody love sport, but sometimes one gets a little cranky and can’t help thinking that it’s all ludicrous. Almost as ludicrous as Sinead O’Connor lambasting a magazine for putting a photo of a famous person on the cover. Funny how she always manages to pick a fight with an individual riding the crest of a social media wave. Let’s get something straight, Rolling Stone is a magazine that latches onto the zeitgeist. At this tragic juncture, the hottest ticket in town is being famous for not actually doing anything. I will not listen to a single musician who claims to be in it for the art and the kids. Musicians are egocentric maniacs who are in it for the money and the adulation. They can’t do it for free, the unsuccessful ones will say they didn’t sell out. Fair enough, or maybe nobody wanted to buy what you were selling?
I’m not quite sure where this has come from, but I sure do feel better after writing it.
David is the Soapbox’s sports svengali. You can get in touch with him here