The mainstream media treatment of Football has always been a problem amongst supporters. It always seems like the media is out there looking for and sometimes creating negative story on the game to bring down the game as Football is a main competitor of AFL and NRL. It doesn’t help allay fears of conspiracy when it was demonstrated that Channel 7 in the past tried to bury this game.
Now people may be sick of the whole Ljubo Milicevic controversy and so I’m not going to rehash whether his comments were right and wrong. However, even if you agree with Ljubo, you got to admit that those comments were controversial.
One of my first reactions to watching this interview was that this is going to cause a shitstorm. Sure Ljubo Milicevic is hardly a household name and most Australia doesn’t know who he is but I was sure that wouldn’t have stopped the mainstream media to put the boot in the game. After all if an AFL or NRL captain of a club and said similar comments in the middle of an interview and that interview was publish online for everyone to see than I’m quite sure that would have caused a major controversy. Ljubo may not be famous but the media could have made him famous solely due to this comment.
For the game to be derogatively known as “Wog Ball”, it was a perfect opportunity for the media to reinforce that stereotype that football is only played by “Wogs” and encourage ethnic division. I could imagine headlines such as “Ljubo Racist Row”, I could imagine Rebecca Wilson writing an article about how this is returning to the bad old ethnic division days of the NSL. Cue reports about Soccer shooting itself in the foot. I could imagine Today Tonight doing a hatchet job story and show footage of Ljubo describing the Union Jack as a flag of rapist and pillagers and then asked some war veteran what they think of that comments and then have random people complaining about “Reverse Racism”. Then conservative shock jocks would bag the comment and have viewers calling in the show to express their disgust at him and the game.
What ended up happening was nothing. No articles from any professional journalist. No Today Tonight putting fuel to the fire. No controversy at all.
I’m not too sure whether I should be relieved or offended. On one hand I do feel relieved that this game avoided a massive controversy and that there was no big PR blow for the game. However, I’m also offended that Football is considered such a small fish to fry that they are not going to even bother raking in a controversy.
The lack of controversy hit me in the core of my belief about a conspiracy against Football. That perhaps the newspapers don’t have groups of people searching for negative stories on Football. That Channel 7 no longer determines to wreck Football in Australia. That perhaps Rebecca Wilson doesn’t look for any opportunity to put the game down at any moment. That perhaps the AFL and NRL aren’t out to get us. That maybe there is no media conspiracy against football in this country.
Nah, the media just happened to missed this opportunity this time :)