Recent events have once again raised what are the acceptable limits of what can and can’t be said on an AFL ground. A draft code of conduct has been drawn up by the AFL Players Association and the AFL to address this and general behaviour on the field. It is currently being circulated for comment.
Here is that draft:
- No racist or sexist comments, save that material for your media career, it guarantees you a job on radio and TV
- Try saying something nice to your opponent, compliment them on their hair or their sleeve tattoo. Example: “That’s the nicest sleeve tattoo I’ve seen on the field today and I’ve seen several.”
- Avoid saying anything about a player’s family unless it’s constructive criticism. Example: “Hey, tell your sister she can achieve anything if she just stops doubting herself and goes for it. Don’t let the relentless oppression of the patriarchy stifle her dreams.”
- If you must say something negative about someone’s family, don’t then get upset when that player yells at you while you’re lying on the ground in pain.
- Interpretive dance can be just as hurtful as words if done right. Best to avoid.
- Miming having a spear or syringe can also really upset people, even though these things are imaginary. In fact, everyone hates miming so don’t do it.
- Don’t sledge people based on their religion. Unless they’re a Scientologist because that stuff is crazy.
- Try not to use stereotypes on the field, for instance, ‘white men are terrible dancers’, while accurate, is very hurtful to the most persecuted group in society, white men.
- Try to spend at least five minutes a quarter checking in with your opponent on how they are going in life and if there’s anything they need to get off their chest.
- It is perfectly acceptable to sledge someone based on their footballing ability but preferably not teammates
- If you do deliver a sick burn about someone’s footballing skills, follow it up with some tips on how to correct the flaw. Example: “Nice shot, now next time try aiming for the two big sticks. But in all seriousness, I notice you’re bringing your hand across your body during the ball drop, try to straighten that up.”
- If you feel the need to say something negative to an opponent, stop and think, do I light my candle by blowing out someone else’s? What flaws in my own character am I trying to make up for by talking down someone else?
- Punching someone in the jaw is fine but make sure you have a good grasp of their jumper first
- Don’t tackle anyone too hard
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