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Risking livelihoods is a step too far for journalism

Last night, I was greeted by the news that the yearly vitriolic anti-football piece by sporting gossip columnist Rebecca Wilson was ready for consumption.

An article that starts off with a stupid red card pun for the title, Wilson slams football fans and puffs up her beloved Rugby League.

But this time, it’s a step too far for one of football’s most reviled journalists, and not just the fait accompli ‘football bashing’ article that we’re used to.

Enough is enough.

Within the article, Wilson posts photographs, names, the supported club and the alleged crimes of 198 football fans, gloating at their inclusion in a ‘secret police shame file’ before going into a discussion with a member of the NSW police force.

But here’s the sick problem — some of these people are under the age of 18, and Wilson has willingly posted these photos online for everyone to see.

Even worse is the fact that there are adults included who may lose their job, or risk future employment, for incidents that (in some instances) are not even classified as crimes.

As a Perth Glory supporter, I can vouch for at least a few of the gentlemen who’ve been banned from nib Stadium as being truly good people.

Hell, I know of at least one being a devout Catholic, as well as a super-fan who has done everything in their power to appeal their ban on the grounds of mistaken identity.

The FFA, though, won’t have a bar of it.

That’s right, unlike other sports, the FFA (in conjunction with stadium operators) does not have a process of appeal.

If you’re banned, you’re out. No if’s, and’s or but’s about it.

Wilson goes on to claim in the article:

“THIS is the shame file Australian football bosses didn’t want you to see, the louts who’ve sent the sport into a ­downward spiral.”

The reason the FFA didn’t want you to see it is because it protects the identities of those who’ve not necessarily committed crimes, Rebecca.

It also could endanger these fans and their livelihoods, going far too far in the name of a ‘scoop’.

I’m not even going to take offence to the fact she thinks the sport is in a downward spiral because of these people, as the only thing this article sends spiralling is her credibility.

Articles like Wilson’s only set a bad example in the media and build a growing gap between the fourth estate and the fans who utilise it for their day-to-day football consumption.

In a further opinion piece released after the so-called “shame file” last night, Wilson then dubbed the 198 named as ‘football thugs’ and decried that we must stop them.

We get it Rebecca, you don’t like football.

So here’s a solution — don’t pay attention to it. And, hopefully, the sporting populace will aim to do the same with your ‘journalism’.

About the author

avatarKris is a freelance sports journalist, a two-time WA media guild award winner, and podcast host and writer for Ultimate A-League.

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  • Craigo

    Old bourbon Becky is an poor excuse for a journo, no ethics at all. But if you think she “loves” Rugby League, think again! Every chance she gets she slips the boot in, trust me. If anything, she is on the AFL bandwagon, and is a huge supporter of the Swans. How she got this information on the football supporters smells funny too. I hope she gets taken to the cleaners over this one!