Bollocks, bollixy bollocks mate

I don’t believe Fury should be removed. But as a former professional basketball player in the NBA and now as a psychologist who works in the US and Europe, I wouldn’t vote for him. And if, as in previous years, I was invited to the ceremony, I would not attend.

Some, including the Guardian’s Gaby Hinsliff, claim that sportspeople aren’t (or shouldn’t be) role models; this argument aggrieves me. The question is not whether athletes should be role models, or whether you as a parent, fan or pundit think there are copious better options outside of sport. If anyone looks up to an athlete, they’re a role model. And whatever the case, we should not exonerate any athletes for bad behaviour either on or off their field of play.

Sod off.

Athletes are athletes, it’s there in the description. Talent at shooting hoops, punching Ukrainians, trotting along faster than others, that’s the sole and only point of the enterprise. Their views on anything else are, just like those of you and I, sod all to do with their skills or talents in sports.

A boxer no more needs to accord with current day bien pensant thinking than a mechanic’s views on buggery matter to his ability to fix a car engine.

41 thoughts on “Bollocks, bollixy bollocks mate”

  1. Depends on which athletes you’re talking about.
    It’s doubtful our own marathon man, john77’s anyone’s role model. But then, the only reason he’s running is for his own pleasure.
    Professional athletes are as much part of the entertainment industry as rock stars, HIGNFY comedians, Grauniad journalists & pole dancers. The whole point of their existence is to be role models. To make more dosh.
    So we’re arguing about what sort of role model. Quality, not quantity.

  2. Yes, quite. If I want intelligent thought on matters of importance – or, indeed, a role model, I won’t be looking to someone who punches other people for a living or can run a bit faster than someone else. I’ll seek those who have the intellect, knowledge and understanding of the subject matter in hand. These people are endowed with a level of importance way beyond their value, which, frankly, isn’t much.

  3. So Much For Subtlety

    A boxer no more needs to accord with current day bien pensant thinking than a mechanic’s views on buggery matter to his ability to fix a car engine.

    Don’t give them ideas. People’s political views already prohibit them from certain jobs – being a policeman or a teacher for instance. I am sure they will get around to the mechanics in the end. Anyone want to bet most of us here will live to see a mechanic fired for the wrong views on sodomy?

    Athletes may or may not be role models. But this idiot misses their main role – they perform the cathartic role that tragedy did in Classical Greece. We get to see the arc of character development from youthful promise to career brilliance to tragic death in someone like Georgie Best. In that way we can all draw moral conclusions and say to ourselves “There but for the grace of God”. And a load of talent. Someone like Best serves society best by failing.

  4. The amount of money that hard-headed businesses throw at these athletes to promote their products would suggest that athletic ability alone is not how they are valued.

  5. So Much For Subtlety

    If anyone looks up to an athlete, they’re a role model. And whatever the case, we should not exonerate any athletes for bad behaviour either on or off their field of play.

    I so admire this author. I almost worship the ground he works on. Thus I would like to see his tax returns for the past seven years and the phone numbers of every previous sexual partner.

    Shinsei1967 – “The amount of money that hard-headed businesses throw at these athletes to promote their products would suggest that athletic ability alone is not how they are valued.”

    And the fate of people like Tiger Woods who try to sell a false narrative but get caught out suggests we do not need to add anything more to the punishment the advertising market is handing out.

    What is interesting is that some athletes can get away with it for a very long time. Michael Jordan for instance. And some cannot. Either way, the media seems determined not to spoil the marketers’ business model by actual reporting on the private life of some athletes.

  6. And whatever the case, we should not exonerate any athletes for bad behaviour either on or off their field of play.

    Hmmm…

    So let’s remind ourselves – what’s the “bad behaviour” Tyson Fury has been indulging in?

    Knocking his wife about?

    Drugs?

    Doing a poor job on people’s driveways?

    Nah, he expressed some opinions.

  7. I have never modelled my behaviour on that of any sportsman, and the obiter dicta of athletes generally pass me by, but if I thought someone was a total dickhead I think I would be less inclined to pick up the phone to boost their public profile.

  8. Currently convicted rapist Chedwyn Evans will have served his time by April 2017. There’s a big body of opinion that he can take a job in construction but not in football because footballers are role models to children.
    If a child looks up to Evans for anything other than footballing ability, then it’s the parents that are the problem imv.

  9. A boxer no more needs to accord with current day bien pensant thinking than a mechanic’s views on buggery matter to his ability to fix a car engine.

    Can’t agree with you fully. If a mechanic fixes my car and then tries to bugger me, I’m going to another garage next time.

  10. Currently convicted rapist Chedwyn Evans will have served his time by April 2017.

    Tskk. That should be “wrongly convicted alleged rapist.”

  11. @ bis
    The media have encouraged outrageous behaviour by certain professional boxers in order to sell more advertising space in their newspapers/on their TV channels. This makes them anti-role models. And some have played up because they reckon they’ll make more money that way.
    Personally, I think the media should share the blame.

  12. Also, we should not exonerate any journalists for bad behaviour, whether on duty or off. According to the Grauniad.
    I am sure Alan Yentob will be glad to know.

  13. “If a child looks up to Evans for anything other than footballing ability, then it’s the parents that are the problem imv.”

    “Role models” is wanker talk. People who don’t care about sport or music or whatever. Who have no clue about actual fans and what they feel.

    I’ve got a handful of Public Enemy albums. Their political views are pretty much running through their stuff. But I haven’t gone and joined the Nation of Islam, nor did almost anyone else with a copy of Fear of a Black Planet. We just liked the music.

    More than anything, this is the bien pensant view of the lower classes, that they’re utterly mindless and easily swayed, and need to be shown the right way.

  14. I must admit I find the Evans case troubling.

    He said she consented.

    The other guy (McDonald) said she consented

    She said she was so drunk she had no memory at all of what happened sexually.

    At least one earlier case confirmed that drunken consent was still consent – provided the person was capable of making a conscious decision at the time.

    There is plenty of evidence that drunkenness can impair memory without impairing the ability to make conscious decisions (even if foolhardy) at the time.

    The burden of proof lies with the prosecution.

    One man was found guilty, the other not.

  15. It’s Puritanism again, I’m afraid. The Puritans don’t believe in entertainment qua entertainment; it is only justified when it is a vehicle for moral instruction. Hence, this.

    They hated sports (because games are enjoyable) until the second wave (Victorians) when they figured they could convert sports into a moral force, by saying it’s not about enjoying yourself, or winning, but about hard work, social conformity, “the taking part” etc, in other words it’s the Labour Theory Of Moral Value. Exhausting young men with sports was also supposed to suppress the sexual urge.

    And Ched Evans was a Feminist stitch up.

    Talking of which, the Brixton Maoist just got convicted of sexual abuse after, as I predicted and confirmed by one of his “victims”, intense psychological pressure by police and their therapist colleagues on said “victims” to believe the Therapy Feminism narrative of “invisible handcuffs” and so on.

    So anyway. It’s puritans, puritans, puritans all the way down.

  16. If sportsmen are to be held up as role models, and denied awards as a consequence, then music awards are practically dead, aren’t they?

  17. Almost all top musicians take or have taken drugs. People who buy illegal drugs, especially cocaine, are directly financing murderous criminals.

    I assume all the people outraged by Fury will now also attack the far greater moral failings of musical role models?

  18. US footballer Ray Rice smacked his girlfriend (now wife) and was only sent to pre-trial diversion. He got a bigger punishment from the NFL, but the chattering classes screamed about the lack of a punishment from the league, ignoring the lack of will to prosecute the case fully. And, of course, there’s the idea that he shouldn’t be back in the league ever again.

    Sports broadcaster Marv Albert was convicted of sexual assault and nobody seemed to have a problem with him coming back after serving his time.

    Serena Williams threatened to shove a f*cking ball down a line judge’s f*cking throat on court during a US Open semifinal, and there were sportswriters who tried to call any punishment of her racially motivated. (She actually received less punishment than, say, Jeff Tarango who was defaulted from the doubles, which didn’t hapen to Williams.)

    Lastly, a lot of politicians, such as US Senators Chuck Schumer and John McCain, have thoroughly vile views about the virtue of denying people fundamental self-ownership, but politicians are always held up as role models. They should be shunned, too.

  19. In a mediated world, anyone is potential commodity to be packaged & sold. I’ve no doubt whoever was responsible for “you ain’t no Muslim bruv” has by now been interviewed & the product packaged & sold as significant of something. Role modeled.
    By nature of being a performer -in the dramatic sense, for sport-as-entertainment is drama – professional sportsmen are role models. In the same way as characters in fiction might be. Because everyone mediated becomes, to some degree, fictional. If they chose to open their mouths & what comes out is mediated, then it becomes part of the drama.

  20. To paraphrase Thatcher, there is no such thing as a role model. However there are men and women in all walks of life who we can choose to look to as role models. Its our choice who we use as a role model, not the role model’s decision to be one.

  21. “Lastly, a lot of politicians, such as US Senators Chuck Schumer and John McCain, have thoroughly vile views about the virtue of denying people fundamental self-ownership”

    That sounds absolutely disgraceful! You must tell us all

  22. @ bis
    I should like to think that you were correct but my wife’s much younger cousin, whom I first met when he was 11, became a good (unlike me) athlete and an Actuary.

  23. Ironman:

    Chuck Schumer gets in front of a TV camera constantly to decry and try to ban almost everything that seems to bring the wrong classes pleasure, such as Four Loko, the wrong type of drink that mixed caffeine and alcohol, or powdered alcohol.

    McCain is one of the authors of the worst anti-free-speech laws (so-called “campaign finance reform”) to come down the pike in the last 20 years.

  24. This is true, but that free speech lark surely also applies to leftie academics writing drivel in the Graun, doesn’t it?

    I do think we suffer from several selection biases (among other biases) here, in that the average commenter here is highly intelligent, and even SMFS/Ecks are, like stopped clocks, right twice a day. We’re more selective in our role models. We pick them and want to beat them, and then be role models to people we want to beat us one day. Celebrities and sportspeople don’t come into that equation very much, because where we all realise that an egalitarian world would see myself or TimN (or TimW) playing centre-forward for Man U and Wayne Rooney drilling for oil without killing people, or me marketing drugs without killing (too many) people, which would be a worse world for everybody. But the proletariat and plebeiat out there don’t work or think that way (if they work or think at all).

    So let the academic make his point. This boxer is clearly a grade A arsehole (I have direct experience of the Manchester Irish traveller community and it cost me a wheelie-bin through the front window once), but to become heavyweight champion that’s part of the job description. It doesn’t mean we have to admire him, either for his repugnant opinions, or for his slightly better than average ability in a narrow field in a moribund sport.

  25. @ Ted S.
    You must have a very very special worldview if you consider “campaign finance reform” to be in the same continent, let alone ball-park as the worst anti-free-speech laws.
    When I expressed surprise at Fabius’ claim that the COP21 deal would deliver <2 degrees warming since China 's promise was that it's emissions would peak in 2030 and start to decline thereafter (the annual increase in China's CO2 emissions – over one-third of the global total – is roughly equal to the UK's total emissions), my wife advised me that this could not be stated in public because it would be viewed, and denounced, as racist.

  26. @ BiG
    In my over-privilieged youth I knew an Amateur national heavyweight champion (actually two, and also met a guy who was later a professional light-heavyweight champion) and NO, it is *not* part of the job description to be a grade A arsehole: both of the two amateurs were nicer guys than me – I didn’t know the other well enough to form an opinion on his character). [One of my friends was Captain of Boxing, another got a Cricket Blue, several got Athletics Blues, several got Rugby Blues – I did say “over-privileged” – so i got to meet a lot ofsportsmen who were – or should have been – out of my league]. The local ABA heavyweight champion was a bit of an arsehole but one in N of the heavyweight boxers I’ve met.

  27. A hockey player was embroiled in a sexual assault case at the start of the current season. The media were asking why his club and the league weren’t doing anything about it.
    The NHL quite reasonably pointed out that as he was only being investigated and hadn’t been charged with anything they didn’t see that they should anything and would review the situation if any charges were laid. It was good to see a sensible response for a change.

  28. I have thought that Fury is a windup merchant. He says something to get a reaction and having got one, he is playing with the SJWs . Good for him, a pity more “celebrities” don’t do it.

  29. So Much For Subtlety

    Bloke in Germany – “This boxer is clearly a grade A arsehole (I have direct experience of the Manchester Irish traveller community and it cost me a wheelie-bin through the front window once)”

    I am sorry but are you claiming someone is an ar$ehole based solely on his ethnic background? Even partially on his racial background. What has your direct experience of the Manchester feckless got to do with Fury? Are you saying that if I am mugged by one Jamaican it is alright to hate all Jamaicans?

    john77 – “NO, it is *not* part of the job description to be a grade A arsehole”

    My experience of Rugby and football players is that the high chance of being belted back made for much nicer people. Football players know they are pretty safe – and cricket players even more so. But League players know if they say something about someone’s mother, well, a lot of things can go on in a scrum. Best avoided.

    I would think that the same would apply to boxers.

    This is despite the fact that while Muhammed Ali may have had lots of sound ideas on a great many subject, he was actually a thoroughly reprehensible, vile, disgusting human being.

  30. @ SMFS
    “I would think that the same would apply to boxers.” That is true, but only part of it: “fair play” is part of ethos of boxing (boxophobes will say it’s part of the brainwashing of novices). “Queensberry rules” is code for a fair fight even though 99% of people don’t know what they were (modern boxing is “amended queensberry”). Yes, if you are an arsehole other boxers will hit meaning to hurt rather than just to score points and anyone thought to be cheating is likely to end up on their backside, but *mostly* they are never allowed into the ring.

  31. So Much For Subtlety

    john77 – “Yes, if you are an arsehole other boxers will hit meaning to hurt rather than just to score points and anyone thought to be cheating is likely to end up on their backside, but *mostly* they are never allowed into the ring.”

    Which is why I think the solution to bullying in schools is more boxing. If the little sh!ts are going to pound the crap out of each other, best they do it in the ring, under adult supervision – and where they can learn what it is like to be belted back by someone more or less their size.

    There have been thoroughly unpleasant boxers. Ali, obviously. But part of the great drama that has been Mike Tyson’s life is that he was so talented he could get away with a lot of things lesser men could not. So when he fell from grace, it was with mixed emotions. A lot of people thought he got what was coming to him, but on the other hand he was truly an amazing boxer.

  32. “But League players know if they say something about someone’s mother, well, a lot of things can go on in a scrum. Best avoided.”

    Nothing happens in scrims in Rugby League. The safest any player can possibly be on a rugby league pitch is in a scrum. It’s just a wee cuddle. If you want to hurt someone you just forearm them in the face in a tackle, but that’s the same as any tackle in league.

  33. Mike Tyson might have been an appalling thug, but he came out with one of the great quotes: “everyone has a plan until they are punched in the mouth”.

    It is a savage and pithy dismissal of modern Progressivism.

  34. @ SMFS
    *I* think the solution to bullying in schools is to allow those bullied to hit back. Currently any victim who hits back is punished while the bully gets away with it. That STINKS.
    Maybe (OK, not just maybe, absolutely) I am prejudiced because I spent a very significant part of my childhood dealing with bullies (and some preventing bullying by just being there so they didn’t try). It isn’t true that *every* bully is a coward but for every Kray twin there are 99 who are.

  35. So Much For Subtlety

    Rob – “Mike Tyson might have been an appalling thug, but he came out with one of the great quotes: “everyone has a plan until they are punched in the mouth”.”

    Isn’t that just a vernacular version of Helmuth Karl Bernhard Graf von Moltke (that is, von Moltke the Elder):

    “No plan of operations extends with certainty beyond the first encounter with the enemy’s main strength”

    Usually quoted, repeatedly, by Americans as “no plan survives contact with the enemy”.

  36. Bloke in Costa Rica

    I think Tyson was more a scholar of von Clausewitz, although his monograph on Liddell Hart’s theory of the Indirect Approach was much discussed at the time.

  37. I cannot imagine that anyone other than John Amaechi would even notice that he wan’t there let alone care. I doubt that the producers of SPOTY are in a flap because he might not come, I’m sure they can find someone else who the public has never heard of who made it big in a sport that half the sports’ pages don’t even cover.

    I see the plod in Greater Manchester has decided to classify it as a hate incident rather than hate crime, i.e. another thing for the too hard basket. Who knew there were degrees of hate? What other classifications are there, hate occurrence, hate bit of a flap, hate to do?

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