The Hydra was a mythical serpent creature with many heads. You cut off one head, another two grew back in it’s place. The Herald Sun is the Hydra in this tale and the heads are the many underlings they have willing to put out xenophobic and misguided musings on the perceived ethnic scourge that is football. The latest “head” is a little known “journalist” with big dreams, Aaron Langmaid.
Aaron was able to write such a humdinger of an opinion piece that before the outrage kicked in, people were scratching their heads as to whether it was satire or not. Once it was established that this was intended to be a serious comment piece, the condemnation came from far and wide. Of all the many beat ups and clickbait articles written about football over the many decades this seemed to have reached a new low.
Some highlights of the piece, which I won’t provide a link for, were claiming that in Australia “soccer thugs” we’re as dangerous as jihadi terrorists, asking that police have the power to step in before any laws are broken, he used an example at the tennis to illustrate his case against the “soccer thugs”, and his big example of the recent trouble was the Australia and Greece game in Melbourne where no arrests were made but there was traffic congestion.
Now this is just the latest in a long tradition of eyebrow-raising logic and sigh-inducing opinions from the Herald Sun and the Murdoch media so there should be no surprises. However, an interesting debate broke out between respected members of the football community Francis Awaritefe, Ray Gatt, Sebastian Hasset amongst others. The discussion was based on how people should react to these seemingly endless streams of written refuse. Is it best to turn the other cheek? Or go on the attack? Opinions were divided and although respect was maintained there was no consensus reached.
Legendary demi-god Hercules was faced with a similar conundrum when his efforts to defeat the Hydra were thwarted and in fact his position became worse the more he fought. He didn’t give up the fight though, instead he regrouped and devised a better plan of attack. This time with the help of his nephew, Iolaus, he was able to use fire and steel to defeat the Hydra once and for all. It was with a united effort and better understanding of the enemy that Hercules was able to defeat that which was created to destroy him.
Football fans must also come together and show a united front against those who seek to ensure that football stays on the fringes of society (newsflash: it’s too late). The problem is not the Langmaids of the world but those whose agenda he is serving. Langmaid tweeted in 2010 that he loved “soccer crowds” so he at one stage was on the side of those he recently sullied.
We could assume by this that he fell out of love with the game and it’s crowds sometime in the last six years. Yet, there was a tweet from him in 2015 at the Asian Cup with more than a hint of satisfaction to be covering the game.
Perhaps Aaron is just an ambitious young man who is willing to do what it takes to reach his career goals even if it means checking his integrity and better judgement at the door? He certainly wouldn’t be the first person to compromise himself for his employers and I’m sure he’s not alone in this amongst all the anti-soccer article writers over the years. Most are one and done never to be heard of again when it comes to the round ball game, as though it’s a rite of passage for those in the Herald Sun clickbait cult.
At the end of the day, it is the Herald Sun that is responsible for the publishing of hate-mongering stories aimed at sensationalisng and trivialising issues that deserve more considered thought. How though do we rise to the Herculean task of defeating these unrelenting attacks? First and foremost, don’t click on the links. The newspaper industry both online and in print relies on this traffic and consumption for advertising dollars. Long ago reporting stopped being about informing the public with fair and impartial comment, and became an exercise in writing and saying anything as long as it gets hits on the website and eyeballs on the pages or screen. If the urge of the inflammatory headline is too much to ignore and you happen to click on a link then screenshot it and share it without giving them the traffic they crave.
Bombard these agitators with mockery and intelligent ripostes rather than vicious abuse. Don’t feed into their stereotype of the dangerous and unbalanced soccer hooligan. These articles that are written are littered with material to make fun of. They’re as devoid of common sense as Zlatan is of self doubt. Highlight these head scratchers and their ridiculousness.
Perhaps the best course of action though is to continue to work together to grow the game in this country. It’s success strikes more fear in the heart of the game’s detractors than a teenage hooded ultra wannabe weilding an incendiary device. It will get to a point that the success is too great to ignore or attack that they will have no choice but to get on board. After all, for them it’s all about those metrics which is something the FFA knows about all to well which is why their hesitant to insult potential customers in defense of the game.
Football is far from perfect as are the fans but it is more than worth fighting for and defending.