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  • Writer's pictureThe Chief

Don't Torpedo The Punt

Updated: Feb 15, 2020

Now for unnecessary transparency purposes I will say up front that yours truly enjoys the occasional punt on the ponies, a dabble on the dogs and a flutter on the footy. I’m partial to dropping some dough on the dice and some cash on the cards. And by occasional I mean I really only gamble on the days ending in Y.

However, there is something I always wear when I part with a few hard earned oxford scholars, in the hope of getting a few more back, and they are my big boy pants! That’s right, as an adult I act like an adult and make the decision to take the risk. No one put a gun to my head and said throw a Bradman on the Brisbane Heat to win the BBL! It was entirely my decision, I did it, the choke-aholics capitulated and consequently I went on a short term diet as the groceries had to stay in the supermarket a week longer. Quite simply, actions have necessary consequences!

Now I know in this day and age few will agree and many more will not, but whatever the case, it’s time to stop the rot. When did “take responsibility for your own actions” expire and become irrelevant? When did the appropriate guidelines we have in place for children get adopted by adults? And why have we turned into an immature society chanting the catchphrase “it’s not my fault” when literally anything we do or try doesn’t end with the desired result?

My point for this article is that recently it was reported there has been discussions about the potential for AFL players to take pay cuts so the sport can lessen its reliance on the revenue from gambling corporations. This apparently will protect players, and the no doubt lesser important wider society, from gambling addictions because they won’t see gambling advertising, or at least as much gambling advertising, at the games or on the TV during broadcasts. Note the "lessen the reliance" on gambling corporation advertising revenue, not the eradication of it. Sounds to me like the AFL could potentially be having a little bit of a hypocritical fifty cents each way on the issue.

Anyway, the odds are it will be a highly popular policy that may even manifest into a movement. I’m sure Twitter, Facebook and all the other extremely advertorial social media platforms will comply and follow suit. I just hope precautions will be in place for the potential fatalities among the masses of employees crushed in the rush to volunteer having their pay docked.

Look it's not as if I harbour sceptical tendencies and it’s not my intention to dwell in cynicism because maybe there is something to the advertising. Maybe the gambling addiction issues suffered by players are a direct result of the prevalent advertising. When you remove the blinkers, take a step back and think about it on a wider scale, illegal recreational drug dealers don’t advertise on media platforms and you don’t see widespread substance abuse and addictions do you….. oh wait a minute….!

Now I don’t want to be heartless because I know there are people that suffer addiction…. but… really? Players take a pay cut to mitigate the advertising and sponsorship revenues that may be lost from legal corporations’ investments? Apart from the absolute absurdity of that initiative, no one should ever bet on a gift horse in the….. sorry I mean no one should ever look a gift horse in the mouth. How can they not see the "get woke, go broke" pitfalls of this preposterous cancel culture.

I have a feeling the irony of the AFL betting on securing comparatively substantial future revenues from alternate sources, might be lost on those advocating the potential policy.

It seems at this stage the initiative noise is stemming from Western Bulldog's veteran and AFL Player’s Association Delegate Easton Wood. It’s interesting to note that Easton is now 30 years of age and has been in the AFL system for over ten years, having made substantial money already. Now I am not suggesting Easton is a grandstanding, pedestal dwelling hypocrite because no doubt he believes in his idea. But I imagine it’s probably somewhat easier to push a financially detrimental agenda at the end of your lucrative career, especially when it is barely going to affect your personal circumstances.

As far as championing the pay cut policy goes, I think it would be relatively safe to say a 30 year old Easton Wood but a 23 year old Easton Woodn’t!

It may seem at odds with many people to argue in favour of the legal, albeit often immoral, gambling corporations. However, the irony is those orchestrating and supporting such policy, where the worker’s pay extra for their corporate masters, would contradict their obvious advocated ideologies. Considering what would most probably be a negligible benefit, its simply text book token gesturing and yet another case of the majority conforming to the minority.

You can’t orchestrate life to save everyone from themselves and attempting to do so is an act of futility. The AFL world sparks so many direct and indirect vices so where do we draw the line? If this type of posturing becomes a trend, then I guess we can look forward to membership or game day seat levies to cover the revenue losses of the inevitable alcohol advertising and in ground alcohol consumption prohibition.

I would suggest the majority of fans would prefer the AFL refrained from drawing any line, other than the plus / minus points spread at even money, and just concentrated wholly and solely on ensuring they put on a supreme product. Sadly though, there is seemingly an influential element that feels necessary to not only indulge in but lead the social engineering charge.

If I had my way, players would have a clause in their contracts that saw 50% of their weekly match fee wagered on their own team to win each week. Think of the benefits…. It would cancel out any type of match fixing, the gambling addicts get their fix and I doubt you’d find a better incentive for individual players to run harder, tackle stronger and train longer.

That’s the problem with committees, think-tanks and task-forces…. they only look at the negatives.

If you don’t gamble you’ll never know if you’re luck is in, so keep on punting purple people and remember, a dollar won is twice as sweet as a dollar earned.

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