“Ultimately we will prevail. We will survive, and we will succeed.”
A stoic utterance by Winston Churchill? Or one from the bloke entrusted with peeling Essendon Football Club out of the soiled nappy it’s stubbornly refused to discard for more than three years?
It’s the latter. The words of Lindsay Tanner, Essendon Chairman. They jumped out of him yesterday.
Before this it was bottomless pockets of the litigious Essendonian set. Now it’s war-time rhetoric. Fight them on the beaches stuff. Sportsmen as conscripts. In a sense they are. Draftees urged out of the sporting trench only to be shot down by friendly experimental fire.
Again we now endure mugs on radio and television saying this and that pretty much all of whom with their own pre-determined patch to protect. There’s the tired bleating of those who persist in clinging to the old ‘one for all, all for one’ idea of ‘club’ in this modern era of sporting franchises. They look forward to better days ahead, perhaps to the number one pick they’ll probably get next time around. Adversity will make them stronger. They’ll #StandBy whoever or whatever. Just you wait and see.
And then there’s the rest. And it’s fair to say we’re filthy. I am.
Filthy at the players who didn’t speak up, who ignored warnings known to all professional sportspeople that the buck stops with the individual, and for whom winning at all costs, for whom doing ‘whatever it takes’ meant spilling over a cliff’s edge like so many red-and-black lemmings.
Filthy at the leaders within a modern sporting organisation – experienced players, coaches, administrators, medicos, voodoo pseudo-scientists – for conspiring to let this happen.
Filthy at the grubby coalface negotiators who despite moral insolvency traded anyway and dragged other clubs down as their own rotting carcass of a ship sank.
Filthy at the immaturity of starry-eyed grown men who think worshipping the colours of a bloody jumper is somehow grander than honesty.
Filthy at those for whom proximity to and protection of sporting identities is a commodity worth cherishing above and beyond integrity.
Filthy at the sharp-suited arrogance of a code’s administration for trying to clever it’s way out a trainwreck.
Tragedy is a word being bandied about. The tragedy of young careers cut short. The tragedy of a participant having to hand back a bit of metal on a ribbon. The tragedy of a once proud and passionate club finding itself financially imperilled, it’s future uncertain. The tragedy of loyal servants feeling compelled to sue their master.
What utter bullshit.
Tragedy is indigenous health. Tragedy is Istanbul overnight, or Syria. Tragedy is most of Africa every other day.
This Essendon mess is not a tragedy. This is pure deceit. It’s selfish idiocy laid bare. It is greed. It is cowardice. It is negligent. It is corrupt. It is all this and more.
I can’t empathise with the ‘victims’ of this fall.
For years they’ve thumbed their noses at the likes of you and I.
I’m quite comfortable seeing them stew in their own juice.