I worry that I’m alarmist when it comes to media beat ups. Should I be angry at Bill Shorten for texting while driving? I dunno… Is Tony Abbott vilifying minorities? Probably… Sometimes I think I’m too easily outraged but when it comes to the case of Dustin Martin vs innocent woman in restaurant, I am genuinely pissed off.
The intoxicated Richmond footballer is alleged to have held a pair of chopsticks above the woman’s eye and threatened to stab her with them at a restaurant on Chapel street after the she told him to calm down. He is also alleged to have slammed his hand against the wall behind her.
If we’ve learnt one thing from Rosie Batty, it’s that this kind of violence against women or family violence in general must not be tolerated under any circumstances. It’s not an ideal to aspire towards, it’s simple: Family violence is terrorism. We cannot tolerate it in any degree.
In a year where, unfortunately, much of the time I have felt ashamed to be Australian; ashamed of Tony Abbott, ashamed of the racism targeted at Adam Goodes and now ashamed of my own team’s star midfielder. At least Batty has been a most worthy Australian of the year.
It’s true, we don’t know the full context of Martin’s actions on the night in question. We don’t know exactly what was said or who was there. All we know is that he threatened the woman and she found his actions ‘extremely intimidating’.
Perhaps the woman should have just left the restaurant where Martin and his mates were being too boisterous. Perhaps, in future, she should wear an alarm when she’s out at night, in case she runs into another drunk footballer who can’t control his temper… but no, that’s not the world Rosie Batty imagines.
When she recently addressed the Victorian parliament she framed the question perfectly: what I’d like to see is, no more the question ‘why doesn’t she just leave? I want us to be asking the question ‘why doesn’t he stop being violent?’ And indeed, ‘why doesn’t he leave?
I agree with former Tigers legend Kevin Bartlett – Martin should be given a 12 month suspension. This is another chance for the Richmond Football Club to show real leadership on an important social issue, just as they did by deciding to wear their indigenous jumper in support of Adam Goodes when he was racially abused into temporary retirement earlier this year. It became one of my proudest memories as a Tigers fan this year. A 12 month ban for Martin’s behaviour would be another stand Tigers fans could be proud of, another win for a club that hasn’t enjoyed much success in the last 30 years.
I admire the way Dustin Martin plays his football but I admire Rosie Batty more. Richmond fans will get behind Martin and help him deal with his own issues but we’ll never surrender our allegiance to Rosie Batty and her fight against family violence. We may not have her badge pinned to our duffle coats but we know what a real hero looks like when we see one.
Do you think Dusty’s behaviour warrants a 12 month suspension? Leave a comment below…