It’s one of the AFL – and sport’s – biggest talking points at the moment as the AFL attempts to crack down on abuse in the stands at the footy.
Over the weekend, an AFL fan in Melbourne was evicted from the ground, reportedly for calling an umpire a ‘bald headed flog”.
The umpire was photographed pointing up at the (similarly balding) man in the stands, who security promptly met and was removed from the ground.
#aflblueslions @marvelstadiumau @afl Umpire Matthew Nicholls and security guards point out a Carlton fan ( BALDING BLOKE in crowd ) who was evicted from the stadium for calling the umpire a ” bald headed flog ” at 1/2 time in the umpires race @theagesport @agerealfooty pic.twitter.com/Qa3dZeYWz2
— Wayne Ludbey (@WLudbey) June 8, 2019
On Tuesday morning on the Mix102.3 breakfast show, Jodie, Soda and regular guest Travis Boak, had a conversation about the issue.
There were some differing opinions amongst them.
“I had a discussion with parents that will no longer take their children to the football because of the abuse in the crowd so I’m glad they’re stamping it out,” Jodie said before Travis arrived in the studio.
Soda seemed slightly more cautious about how to find the ‘line’ of what is acceptable crowd behaviour.
“If you’re at junior footy, you’ve got young umpires who are 15 or whatever, (there should be) absolutely no abuse whatsoever,” Soda said.
“But for 100 years people have been going ‘oh you white maggot’… so we need to stop all of that now?
“I’m playing devil’s advocate.
“We’re at that point now where no-one can say anything negative. We want to make sure they provide the best environment possible but are we going too far now?
“There’s one thing that I love – and maybe the bald-headed flog thing does cross the line – but I love the good hearted and clever banter between fans and between players. I think it is absolutely fantastic and it characterises Australian personality.
“Clearly the line (of what is acceptable) is changing… for the better but I hope we don’t lose that innocent bit of fun where we love having a whack at our mates.”
Port Adelaide veteran Travis Boak seemed to agree that there was a level of ‘banter’ that needed to be tolerated.
“It’s a really hard one, the abuse stuff we want to stamp out of the game, whether it be players or umpires, but it is a tricky one, where do you draw the line,” Boak said.
“With that (bald-headed flog) comment there was no swearing there.
“The things you want to protect are the kids in the crowd, you’ve got to have role models around these kids.
“It’s a fine line, if we continue to go down that path we won’t be saying anything at games of footy.”
Boak said he would point out an offender in the crowd to a security guard if he heard a comment that was racial or homophobic. “You’ve got to speak up,” he said.
Jodie was focused on making sure a footy ground is a safe environment for kids.
“I think kids have the right to go along and watch sport and not feel threatened by people around them,” she said.