North’s hard-working forward Aaron Edwards has found himself in the shit again. My question is, who killed him? Here are my suspects:
- Aaron Edwards – The boy from Samoa hasn’t done himself any favours. After bringing a chequered past to NMFC’s ranks, he was reprimanded in 2007 for getting hammered at a Lionel Richie concert (I personally think the bigger crime was going to see Lionel Richie). Putting aside moral judgements on traffic violations, this latest incident was pretty reckless. Attempting to rock up to training after what must have been a pretty massive night-before isn’t smart. To excessively speed and bring this to the attention of the Vic. fun-stoppers is extremely stupid. Did Edwards bring this on himself? Or is he just stupid?
- The NMFC Leadership Group – The boys wasted no time in recommending to the Club that Edwards be ousted from the pre-season comp. and the first four rounds of the season-proper. Too harsh? Or are they justifiably pissed-off with Edward’s apparent contempt for pre-season training?
- The NMFC Administration – The Club accepted the leadership group’s recommendation and will enforce the ban. Again, too harsh? Or did Edwards smear the Club’s name (or that overused word, “brand”) so much that the response is justified?
- The AFL – Silent on the issue to-date. Silence equals consent. Does the AFL impose unfairly-high moral standards on the kids of the AFL? Or are these “role models” ruining the game’s name and putting off otherwise supportive Mums and Dads from their sons’ involvement in footy?
- The AFL Players’ Association – Again, silence. Where are they when Edwards needs them most? Or ultimately, do they have no real choice but to stand with the leadership group and the Club?
- The Media – The pack-hounds sniffed this out and have covered it and similar off-field incidents to death, despite lacking any real journalistic merit. Are the media culpable of racing to the bottom without any ethical considerations? Or are they just giving the people what they want?
- Rev. Shinboner – By nature of writing this post, I’m just as culpable as the media. Or does my well-considered analysis give me a journalistic edge?
So who killed Aaron Edwards?
The answer is, all or the above and none of the above. But mostly, you (the general public) killed Aaron Edwards.
You’re reading this post, and you lap up any AFL controversy to hit the back (and front) pages of The Hun. You’re feeding the media, who in turn force the hand of the AFL, the Clubs and the AFLPA. Sure Edwards was stupid, but I’ve done some pretty stupid things in my spare time and it’s never affected my career. Frankly, if a cop can get away with speeding, why can’t an AFL footballer? Sure, they cop the same penalty as the rest of us, but why should it affect their career?
Yes, all parties have some culpability in relenting to the hyperbole of the media. And yes, the media seem all too keen to drop their already low ethical standards. But really, if we don’t want this unfair moral imposition on our game’s players, we need to stop feeding the machine. But we don’t. And it gets worse every year. While Dylan Howard got what he probably deserved, there’s a mile-long queue of wannabes waiting to take his place.
The real question is why … why do we keep feeding the machine, but whinge about the unfair moral standards placed on our boys? No easy answers here.
The most valid answer I’ve heard comes from Martin Flanagan. He contends that with the gradual breakdown of community over the last generation, we’re left clinging to a community that’s fabricated around us. That community isn’t a real community at all, it’s the community of celebrity. Here, all we’re left to talk about are a bunch caricatures; cartoon-characters that no-one actually cares about but everyone wants to gossip about. That community is unequivocally fucked.
So I say fuck celebrity culture. And fuck you too. North is trying to re-build a real community, so I suggest you get off your fat-arse and do the same. Otherwise we’ll be left with our once great game becoming a sterile shadow of itself, where players are about as accessible as Brad Pitt and anyone who does anything human is crucified.
So, are you happy you killed Aaron Edwards?