Should we expect professionalism? Or do we need to ‘just take a joke’?
International men’s soccer returned to free to air at prime time on Thursday night. A moment to savour.
Flicking the tv on, expecting The Bachelorette, I was surprised to instead watch the Socceroos playing an important World Cup qualifier against Saudi Arabia. It was a moment that once again highlighted the importance of Football Australia’s new broadcast deal with Paramount.
I went to bed after that game, barely looking at Twitter, feeling warm and fuzzy that I’d been able to watch an enthralling final 30 minutes of the game. All without having to stream anything.
To wake up and see a kerfuffle on Twitter from a respected commentator of the game was a surprise. To discover the Tweet he sent out the night before sent me into a spin.
We’re in an era where the national competition has rebranded under the one name. Where both competitions ought to be differentiated by “men’s” and “women’s”. Football is meant to be following the lead of cricket in Australia that has labelled it’s men’s and women’s teams as such for the past few years.
The Tweet I saw from Adam Peacock was along the lines of “relax”, everyone ought to understand the word “some”.
And look true. In a private group chat, there may have been “some” women who thought the Saudi coach was hot. All I can comment on is that he had a very prominent Adam’s apple, so you’re better off getting someone’s thoughts on that measurement.
BUT. There’s a difference between talking about the attractiveness of players, coaching staff or heck anyone, and making a broad judgement on behalf of a gender and using sexual innuendo to try and work a pun that should only be shared with a group of mates at a bar who can groan in response.
Sure it’s a “joke”. On a different account, one that doesn’t pride itself on being a Fox Sports journalist, commentator and otherwise football reporter, it might have sailed. Without the audience, without the expectation of professionalism, those comments might be able to pass as a joke. They can certainly be defended as one with an “unfollow if you don’t like” vibes.
But Peacock is paid to inform Australians on our game. Heck, he’s involved in commentating on the women’s game. It’s no longer a boys club.
We can’t accept commentators making comments as if they remain in the boys club of yesteryear.
It’s not appropriate for commentators to be making lewd jokes about how “wet” women may be.
Twitter is an extension of the workplace. It’s a forum many use within the media to “sell” their product and to engage an audience.
This type of comment wouldn’t pass within the sphere of what a workplace presents publicly.
It’s a joke, perhaps. But it’s not professional.