Australia Day is next week and I don’t know if I really want to celebrate. David Warner sledging Rohit Sharma and telling him to ‘speak english’ just makes me cringe. I hunted around for Warner’s apology this morning but his response was ‘I won’t back down’. Won’t back down from what? Being a racist?..
It’s a sensitive topic for me because I just finished watching a 3 part documentary on SBS called ‘Race Riots’ last night. In it, host, Peter Fitzsimons, presents a very compelling Australian historical context for the Cronulla riots. It turns out our history is littered with examples of entitled, white people victimising outsiders and minority groups. Chinese immigrants beaten up on the Goldfields in the 1860s, Italian workers told not to speak Italian because it makes Australians ‘uncomfortable’ in the 1950s, middle Eastern refugees put into prisons indefinitely in the early 2000s. It’s true these racially motivated events are not tolerated by the majority of Australians but they do keep happening thanks to guys like David Warner.
While Sharma endured David Warner sledging him at the MCG last night, across the road the Asian Cup was in full swing. People from all ethnicities speaking their native tongue and playing soccer. Last week I sat amongst 17,00o Iranian fans cheering their team to a 2-0 win over Bahrain whilst beating drums, dancing and wearing traditional costumes. This is progress of a kind.
I’ve been to every game at Rectangular stadium during the Asian Cup and I can say categorically that the only person I’ve heard being vilified so far has been Prime Minister Tony Abbott who was roundly booed during a welcoming ceremony at the opening game of the tournament. Not surprisingly, this hasn’t caused outrage.
During the same game, a hearty cheer went up around the stadium when a guy behind me, on level 3, fashioned a paper plane out of his flash card and flew it all the way to the edge of the 18 yard box. Unlike mean spririted racism, such moments are actually what make it great to be Australian. I like being a nation of good spirited class clowns.
I prefer guys like Pat Rafter to represent Australia in International sport. Remember when he was asked in 1998 if winning two consecutive US Opens would change him and he responded by resolving ‘to stay the same old sack of crap that (he has) always been’? That is why I love Pat. He’s not about entitlement or privilege. He’s a sack of crap and proud of it.
So David Warner, don’t bother kissing the coat of arms on your helmet if you make a century in the World Cup next month, you can kiss my arse cos I’ll be supporting India.
What do you think of David Warner sledging Rohit Sharma? Leave a comment below.