Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Dealing with Simple Minds

Hats off to Cricket Australia for their (long overdue) 'zero tolerance' policy on racist abuse. Whilst there must be doubts about the enforceability, it's a huge step in the right direction. I'd guess that their thought is that the big wave of publicity the moves are generating will mean that some of the worst XXXX'ed up Neanderthals will think twice before stooping to gratuitous racism, which can only be a good thing.

When you get such strong statements from the authorities, these problems can eventually become self-policed amongst the fan base themselves. You're more likely to go and have a word with a steward about someone doing passable impressions of racist tosser, and effectively ruining the occasion for a whole section, if you're confident that the guy is going to get more that a friendly pat on the shoulder - which seems to be the current modus operandi in English Test Match Grounds.

The moves have predictably attracted some sarcastic comments in certain sections of the British press - who of course have such a wonderful reputation for campaigning against racism - but before anyone over here gets too critical - try and see if you can remember any ECB reaction to the massed chorus's of ''where's your caravan?'' that Jason Gillespie was subjected to last summer.

Then think of veiled threats made to the players by the authorities when the England team at the last World Cup refused to play in (racist) Zimbabwe -and if your memory stretches far enough, think back to the scandalous behaviour of the MCC during the D’oliviera affair.

Cricket Australia realize they have a problem, which could cast an ugly blight over what should be a memorable series. Commendably they’re doing something about it – they deserve support rather than snide carping.

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