Tony Shaw isn’t the brightest bulb in the illustrious display that is the footy media. Any man comprehensively outsmarted by a tree is unlikely to be asked to give a TED lecture anytime soon.
His lack of mental acuity was proven recently on live television when he said that it was a shame that small clubs like North would lose players to Ryan Bastinac to expansion teams like GWS. This ignores the fact that Bastinac hasn’t signed to GWS and more pertinently, completely glosses over the fact that North have protected two players – Andrew Swallow and Todd Goldstein – from very determined GWS approaches.
It happened again when I was watching On The Couch when Gerard Healy praised the work of Jack Atley. Jack who? What number is he?
Please keep reading – this isn’t a North whinge. I only raise the Bastinac and Jack Atley matters because I’m a North supporter and they stuck out like the proverbial dog’s bollocks. But it isn’t just a North thing. It happens to every club. Every week I’m confronted by stuff in the footy media where I think to myself “That’s just wrong. Plain and simple wrong”.
A quick scan across pretty much any of the club boards on BigFooty reveals similar complaints about glaring inaccuracies and mistakes by the footy media.
Why should we mug punters have to put up with the likes of Shaw and his ignorance simply because he played a number of games for the largest supported club? And this is, if we’re being honest, the only reason he makes a generous income from the footy media.
Sure, having played the game at the highest level gives one an understanding that the vast majority of us don’t. But it isn’t a green light to make regular mistakes.
What makes this lack of knowledge – a sin of either omission or commission that is equally evil in mine eyes – is that it really shouldn’t be too hard for these people to get right. In fact, it should be impossible for them to stuff up.
I worked as a political journalist in the UK for a long while. I effectively blagged my way into a job, openly admitting that I couldn’t name the parliamentary under-secretary for defence acquisitions but that I had the talent and the experience to report politics and would quickly learn all the various players.
My new employers bought it and put me on a semi-rookie list type arrangement: if in three months I’d shown I’d grasped everything, they’d make me permanent and give me a pay rise.
So I set myself to learning all the names of the various government, opposition and minor party figures, where they sat, what their various jobs were.
And I found that rather than trying to learn this all by reading Hansard or even just Googling someone every time an unfamiliar name came up (even though this was useful) the more I simply immersed myself in the whole culture, the quicker I learned things, often without realisation I was actually learning them.
Before long I could talk the jargon and drop names and not get lost when people started talking about various House of Commons sub-committees: because I was immersed in the world I was working in.
I’m pretty immersed in footy too. Immersed enough to write these blogs, enough to have gone up to Ballarat, certainly immersed enough to not make basic mistakes on a regular basis like some of this lot do.
And I’m hardly alone there. Plenty of people know footy just as well, and in many cases better, than I do.
I do want to hear from people who have played the game at the highest level.
But is it too much to ask that they actually take the time to be involved in it full-time still?