In the AFL’s nationalistic carnival, the Anzac Round, the Melbourne Demons and Richmond Tigers were lining up for their game on April 24. One of the Tigers players Bachar Houli, is one of the AFL’s “multicultural ambassadors”. He is also the first practicing Muslim to play in the AFL. Elsewhere, Houli was being described quite differently. John Burns, radio broadcaster for Melbourne’s 3AW was reported to have labelled him a “terrorist”. The comment was overheard at a Richmond Football Club function by a senior club staffer and subsequently reported.
David Pocock is a rugby player in the Australian national rugby union team. He was also recently arrested. In reacting to his arrest and the reason for it, some have suggested that Pocock may not be the right man to captain the Wallabies in the future.
It is difficult to imagine two more different university towns in the United States than Madison, Wisconsin, and Norman, Oklahoma. Madison has a reputation stretching back decades as liberal ― even radical ― territory. That ain’t Norman. In recent days, however, both communities were connected by the resistance of Black students ― and supporters ― against racism. Madison and Norman are bringing together different aspects of the #BlackLivesMatter movement. It demonstrates how this struggle is firmly implanted among the young ― including young athletes.
Sport is a huge feature of Australian society, and the way it is promoted helps shape our view of men and women. So it was refreshing to see a female sports commentator, Stephanie Brantz, leading the discussion on the ABC during the men’s football (soccer) Asian Cup held last month in Australia. The resources and media dedicated to this event, however, is something that women athletes and sports teams can only dream about. Many women athletes and teams have achieved great success, but only a few achieve the esteem and popularity of Dawn Fraser or Kathy Freeman.
More than 10,000 followers of the beautiful game sang, danced, shouted and chanted their way into AAMI Park for the Palestine vs Jordan match in this year’s Asian Cup. Although the 5-1 result in Jordan’s favour was no real surprise, supporters were as jubilant at the mere presence of the Palestinian team as they were at its first tournament goal.
Left-wing London-based US journalist and author Mike Marqusee passed away on January 13 from cancer, aged 61. Below, radical sports writer and socialist Dave Zirin pays tribute. It is abridged from The Nation. *** Radical journalist Mike Marqusee, the greatest professional influence on my life, has died. Losing Mike is like losing several pints of blood. I’m left dizzy by the prospect of his absence.
Players for A-League club Western Sydney Wanderers are in dispute with club management over their share of prize money for taking part in the Club World Cup in Morocco. Wanderers players have not ruled out boycotting their December 13 match against Mexican team Cruz Azul if no agreement is reached. The players earned 50% of the prize money for taking part in the Asian Champions League, which the Wanderers became the first Australian team to win on November 1, booking their place at the CWC.
Australian sport, particularly Australian rules football, has enjoyed a positive place in the public psyche. It has managed to perpetuate an image of an all-encompassing and all-welcoming environment, a world away from hooliganism and violent crowds often associated in the popular imagination with “soccer”. The AFL has messages recorded by the captains of each club played before games encouraging their supporters to be passionate, but reminding them that the football arena should be a welcoming one for all supporters and indeed the players.
“Amid swinging cuts to the nation’s largest public broadcaster came the news yesterday that coverage of both the W-League and Women’s National Basketball League will conclude in coming months,” The Guardian said on November 25, “ending thirty-five years of commitment to regular women’s sport coverage on the ABC.” Australia’s peak women’s sporting body said it feared young female athletes will be left without role models due to the cuts.
A national strike for November 20 to protest the government’s ineffective investigation in the case of 43 missing Ayotzinapa students was announced on November 12 by the Mexican Inter-university Students Assembly, chaired by the Ayotzinapa Teacher Training School “Isidro Burgos”. The assembly, attended by students from 79 schools, decided to support the national strike summoned by the parents of the missing students.