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It’s just not cricket, it’s institutional misogyny

By Gay Mackie  

Through the eyes of Cricket Australia, a man can resign and keep his job, but a woman cannot have control of her own body.

This afternoon, Australian men’s Test captain Tim Paine stood down over a “sexting” scandal, which involved the cricketer sending a picture of his penis (amongst other things) to a female colleague in 2017. In a press release, Cricket Australia chairman Richard Freudenstein said: “The Board has accepted Tim’s resignation and will now work through a process with the National Selection Panel of identifying and appointing a new captain.”

Mr Freudenstein added: “While the Board acknowledges an investigation cleared Tim of any breach of the code of conduct regarding this matter some years ago, we respect his decision (to resign). Cricket Australia does not condone this type of language or behaviour. Despite the mistake he made, Tim has been an exceptional leader since his appointment and the Board thanks him for his distinguished service.”

Here’s the kicker, per Freudenstein, “Tim will continue to be available for selection in the Test team through the Ashes summer.”

While the relationship seemed to be consensual, we’re again at the mercy of Cricket Australia being the arbiter of right and wrong, and indeed, leaving them to dole out the punishment. They’ve posted some questionable form in this regard. In 2018, the same body dismissed an employee for actively campaigning for abortion reform, prompting the nation to define what we expect of our institutions.

 

 

Six months earlier, there were more headlines, as the problem was a square of sandpaper. The manipulation of a ball was rocketed to a fiasco, as we angrily called for heads to be lopped, as, among other things, they set a poor example for our children. Guess which issue garnered more attention?

 

 

Through the prism of CA’s values, perhaps it is that a mother’s currency is irrelevant. A woman is only worthy of dismissal, but a man is able to keep their job. While their body is theirs, of course, it also exists as evidence that can be used against them. It’s worth noting that both Steve Smith and Tim Paine, despite the apologies and the shame they feel, managed to keep their jobs. Bitterly, the former may replace the latter, despite the disgrace they’ve both earned. What we have here, however, is an institutional problem.

According to Fairfax, Angela Williamson was “exposed” after a senior member of the Tasmanian government disclosed her abortion to the administrators of Cricket Australia’s regional branch, Cricket Tasmania. Sticking to objective facts, Williamson had to travel to Melbourne as the only clinic in the entirety of the state closed. Subjectively speaking, how did this nameless figure know, why did that factor into the decision, and how did empathy, or common logic not enter into the decision?

Surely it had to pass through many hands before it was rubber-stamped. While Williamson eventually settled out of court, it was only after she threatened to take the dismissal to the High Court. I ask you, what is the difference between a handful of tweets and a handful of texts?

This is the issue, we’re not dealing with one person, we’re dealing with a culture. Clearly 1951 rolls on down the corridors of Cricket Australia, a halcyon place where a woman’s place is out the door.

 

 

 

This article was originally published on The Big Smoke.

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36 comments

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  1. Graham

    WTF? I don’t get it. I assume from the report that he was sending the dick pic to someone he knew and who would not object to receiving it. So what is the issue? Is it OK to send a pic of your big toe but not some other portion of your anatomy to someone?

    He has to resign as captain for this?

    We need to get a bit real 20th century here: people have sex in all sorts of ways and it is no big deal. It is not even a small deal. I am pretty sure all of us have seen a dick or two in our lives.

    Sandpaper on the other hand is a big deal!

  2. Michael Taylor

    Graham. I can’t say I’ve ever sent one, and I’m not likely to.

    In my opinion a man who does so is a sick bastard.

  3. GL

    Makes you wonder if he had the zoom function switched to give his little brain the appearance of being bigger than it really was. Apart from that thought, how bloody brainless are juveniles…I mean men…who get a kick out such stupidity?

  4. Phil Pryor

    Graham says he doesn’t get it. Is he equipped to get much? He says we’ve seen a prick or two, and with Morrison and Joyce getting in the media, yes indeed. Sandpaper is light humour, a farce, useless, (ask Wasim Akram or Imran) while the coveredup ball damage and seam altering of England in 2005 is still covered up. Perhaps penises and all things a bit naughty should be covered up. Prudent? The big money for sport is big business selling, and, naughty rubbish ruins images, which they have rented, so…

  5. leefe

    And Paine was supposed to be Mr Squeaky Clean.

    Graham:
    Amongst people who know each other well, where the relationship is of an appropriate nature, and there is a reasonable belief that the picture may be acceptable, you still bloody well ASK FIRST! Unsolicited images of that nature are no different to flashing at someone in the streets.

  6. Canguro

    Sending dick pics never ends well. Just ask Anthony Weiner.

    You know, with around half the world’s population sporting one, it’s not as though they’re a rare or privileged item; the old dangly bits between the legs, but I’m still amazed/amused by the foolish egoism of the males who think theirs is a superior version and needs to have its image disseminated – the ‘wow’ factor, look at my penis and be amazed – all a bit creepy and infantile. Freud’s comments beckon.

  7. Kate Ahearne

    Thanks, Gay. It’s so important that we do look closely at our sporting ‘heroes’.

    Once upon a time, I loved the cricket. A day out with one or other or both of my boys, hefting our esky. Slip, slop, slapping. A one-day game at the MCG just once a year. A big expense in our budget, but well worth it.

    Even though our very first one-day game was ruined (for me) by a bunch of idiots shouting racist comments against the other team and supporters, I persevered through the summers. My boys had never come across anything like this. We talked about it, and gamely continued.

    Then came the time when my youngest boy and I were at a match when a new young fast bowler was making his MCG debut. My son was down at the boundary, idolising. He spoke to the bowler, who was fielding on the fence between overs. My son asked for an autograph. The new young fast bowler told my son to meet him at the players’ entrance after the game.

    After the game, we set off, but I was lugging the esky, and fell behind. My son rushed ahead and disappeared. He was nowhere. I dumped our precious esky, and started running about all over the place, frantically looking for my ten-year-old.

    I found a security officer who called the police. Long story short, My boy was eventually found, wandering around the deserted MCG, looking for his idol, who had driven off on the team bus immediately after the game, with no thought for the little boy who had made a date for an autograph.

    Still, I persevered. Until the Shane Warne era, followed by the ball-tampering.

    I don’t love the cricket anymore. It’s just not cricket.

    Misogyny? Of course. Why not, on top of everything else!

  8. Terence Mills

    I recall the response of a young lady who received such a pic.

    Her text response was “I know what that is, it’s a penis, only smaller”

    Canguro : with a name like Weiner you should never send a pic of anything !!

    By the way, this all occurred in 2017 and was investigated, why has it returned ?

  9. Graham

    Leefe

    Asking first? Of course you do if it is at that stage of a relationship.

    I also depends on the picture you are going to send and why.

    I have a photo of my 60 year old girlfriend, full frontal naked in the bathroom. It also carries the caption ” Do you think I am getting fat?” ( This is not a question you should even contemplate answering honestly)

    She has a similar one of me, the accompanying comment not being appropriate to reproduce here.

    My point was not about whether sexting was appropriate conduct for people to be engaged in (surely something for the people involved to decide) but why anyone would be making a fuss about it to the point where you feel compelled to resign your high profile position.

    Graham

  10. Kate Ahearne

    We’re probably all wondering. Why now?

  11. Michael Taylor

    What also appalled me was Shane Warne when interviewing the Australians after their 2015 World Cup win. He interviewed most of the team, with the final question being; “Will you be having a beer tonight?” (or something similar). How blokey.

    I used to enjoy cricket until the idiots took it over.

    One of the best games of cricket I’ve seen in a long time, believe it or not, was the women’s World Cup early last year when Australia defeated India. It was thoroughly awesome.

  12. Michael Taylor

    Kate – knowing you follow the AFL – speaking of sporting heroes mine was a Port Adelaide footballer, Russell Ebert, who sadly passed away last week. I idolised him.

    About twenty years ago when visiting the Umoona Aboriginal community near Coober Pedy, after asking to see Stan, the community administrator, I was informed he was picking up some footballers from the airport who were up there to run a coaching clinic for the Aboriginal lads and that he’d be back in about five minutes.

    Five minutes later (give or take a minute) in walks Stan with Russell Ebert, Chad Cornes, Shaun Burgoyne and Josh Carr.

    Can you imagine my disappointment, that Russell Ebert – my footballing god – took an instant disliking to me?

    Shattered, I was.

  13. wam

    The christian belief is god made women unequal for 1 week in 4. Other religions still hang on to the fear of menstruation.
    Cricket has but one fear left.
    Muarrinam then Eddie Gilbert give the reference.
    ‘Its not cricket’ nearly died in jardine but mcgilvray got it right in 66 with ‘the game is not the same.’
    Now the men’s game is definitely no longer cricket and hasn’t been since chappeli.
    I agree with, michael, the women’s cricket is worth the watch.
    Similarly women’s golf, AFL and soccer are on my list for watching. I even gave the women’s run throw and fall over a look(but only once)

  14. Andrew J. Smith

    Hardly surprising considering the sub-optimal men’s cricket culture of past 15 years, one recalls the nasty attitudes in media and community narratives round the Australia-India series 2007/8?, while Indian students were being attacked in Melbourne, but dismissed with the ‘mini skirt’ defence.

    What gets me in Oz is not just the obsessive platforming of our ‘opiate for the masses’ i.e. sport, sportspeople in AFL, NRL and cricket, with politics linked in too, especially by and for legacy media. They seem also used to implicitly justify men’s rights or men as victims when they do something unethical, immoral or stupid; weirdly universities are being blamed for this (as an attack on learning, skills and science).

    However, these privileged types or ‘koala bears’ get off lightly by adopting PR advice, crying for themselves in public, pleading mental health issues, get counselling, but then often quietly or even noisily return, supposedly rehabilitated; seems about platforming and promoting patriarchy, misogyny and respect for authority?

  15. Michael Taylor

    wam, I see that our club has a women’s team joining the AFLW in 2023. 😀

  16. wam

    looking good. As a cynic bris and perth have had two but they don’t have arseholes like the crows to put up obstacles.
    ps
    you weren’t sitting under a crow’s picture in coober????
    pps
    A friend sent me:
    scummo is so narrow minded he can look through a keyhole with both eyes

  17. corvusboreus

    Gday punters.
    How good’s corporate sport?
    Take the tendency of humans group-identifying themselves by colour under banner to despise and dehumanise ‘others’.
    Thoroughly saturate with the pervasively corrupting influences of the alcohol and gambling industries.
    Then provide a platform of elevated privilege for participants so practical entitlement can help feed their inner narcissist.
    Waddya get?
    You get a culture where ‘buns’ (ie using female humans as disposeable team items) are viewed as ‘bog standard’, a society that pushes blind brand allegiance over substance of play (a trend that spills over into politics) and a country where sports and racing can warrant specific ministries whilst science does not.
    Personally, regarding ‘sport’, I think the cancerous societal effect of the aggressive tactics of gambling cartels (both lobbying and advertising), and the documented spike (+30%ish) in incidents of domestic abuse that coincides with big games/races are both subjects warranting serious discussion, but stars sending dikpics is a far more titillating topic.

  18. leefe

    Graham:
    Why make a fuss of it?

    Because we are trying to change the culture that says unwanted sexual attention and behaviour are “just one of those things”; that says “boys will be boys”; that says “don’t rock the boat”; that says “but what about the impact on him”.

    Have you been asleep during the entire “Me Too” movement?
    Incidents like this don’t happen in isolation. They are part of of widespread set of attitudes that range from ogling to rape. How else do we teach everyone that this sort of behaviour is not acceptable than by there being consequences for those who practice it?

  19. Kate Ahearne

    leefe, well said.

  20. corvusboreus

    I reckon a couple of comments above wonderfully illustrated how firm allegiances to branded entities can foster parochial prejudices that fester into bigotry.
    ‘I wasn’t standing shoulder to shoulder with people screaming racist epiphets at Adam Goodes because he is Aboriginal, personally I was only hurling abuse at him because he isn’t on my team. I was spitting on his shirt, not his skin.’.

    Trivial historical footnote; back in the glory-days of Rome and Byzantium, the colour coded gangs ( aka fan clubs) that fanatically barracked for various chariot racing factions (GETCHA BETZON PUNTAZ!!!) were a convenient readily mobilised resource for instituting street violence when political factions deemed it beneficial to their purposes.
    A bit like how the worst of the ‘firms’ clinging to modern Association Football clubs can act as recruitment grounds for violent political extremist groups..

  21. Kathryn

    I absolutely LOATHE cricket – I have never liked it and never will. In fact, IMHO, it is the most mindlessly boring game in the world. I agree with the author Bill Bryson’s comment that watching a cricket game is the type of “unique” mind-numbing experience where you can commence watching it, then – at any time during the game – stroll away then, at your leisure, build a home, get married, have three kids, and when you (finally) return to the game, it is EXACTLY as you left it! Only the ultra-conservative alpha male misogynists in the UK could have EVER come up with a game that could, in reality, substitute an extremely strong anaesthetic right before serious neurosurgery!

    In any case, the horrendous decision to seriously penalise Angela Williamson, an employee, for exercising her democratic right to attain an abortion (which, by the way, was LEGALISED in Australia in 1960) – then have the courage to stand up for what she believes in – is an absolutely appalling representation of the 1950’s-style misogynistic autocratic hypocrisy that seems to reign supreme on the Board of Cricket Australia and, indeed, right throughout the cricket world! Cricket in Australia (and overseas) keeps sinking to new lows! Watching the way cricket players, and bogan fans of cricket, conduct themselves (here and overseas) is like watching a cringe-worthy episode of “Men Behaving Badly” and it just keeps getting worse! Notwithstanding this, there seems to be one rule for females in the insular and draconian world of cricket and another, completely different, rule for the men! Unfair? You bet! Antiquated? Well yeah! Is such a regressive decision surprising in the ultra-conservative staunch misogynistic cricket world? Sadly, NO!

    On this issue, it should be said that Tim Paine’s sacking was also an over-reach by Cricket Australia! Quite frankly, it’s not everybody’s “cup of tea” but private photographs exchanged between two consenting adults is, in fact, NOBODY ELSE’S BUSINESS and, most certainly, NOT the business of a handful of sanctimonious tyrants on the Board of Cricket Australia! However, it is the blatant difference in the handling of the aftermath in the Williamson vs Paine cases that is the cause of contention here! The offensive manner in which Ms Williamson was treated – with an INSTANT dismissal in carrying out her democratic decision to have (and support) a LEGAL abortion – can only be regarded as discriminatory at best and ILLEGAL at worst! It is too bad Ms Williamson didn’t appoint a good lawyer and drag this matter before the courts on the basis of Unfair Dismissal – I believe she would have had very good reasons to win against Cricket Australia. Hitting Cricket Australia HARD in the pocket, may (to borrow a cricket term) “knock ’em one for six” and, hopefully, put an end to the type of judgemental, pervasive autocracy, arrogant sense of entitlement and hypocrisy for which Cricket Australia is now notorious!

  22. Kaye Lee

    Kathryn,

    Paine resigned because a newspaper was going to publish the story. Cricket Australia exonerated him back in 2018.

    I love cricket but I have witnessed some terrible behaviour on and off the field.

    My son was a talented cricketer as a teenager. He was playing grade with the men at age 14 when a fielder sledged him – he turned around and answered him – something I had told my son to never do. When they came off the field I reminded him that nothing they say should distract him. He said “the wicket keeper reckons he fucked my mother. I just told him he could have a chat to you about it when you served him afternoon tea.”

    Another time I was at my friend’s place – she was a Qantas flight attendant – when a famous cricketer rang at 11pm to ask her to come to his hotel room. Only prob was, his engagement was announced in the newspapers that day.

  23. LambsFry Simplex.

    End of a great career brought about by an infantile decision.

    Amazing how many people with varied careers seem so bereft when it comes to even basic human behaviours. Is his wife impressed, I wonder.

    Can’t say I’ve found the media pile-on particularly edifying either

  24. Michael Taylor

    Kathryn, watching The Goodies way back in the 1970s (who didn’t watch The Goodies?) Tim Brooke-Taylor had his eyes glued to the TV watching a test match when he was distracted by one of the other Goodies, and turned around to say something. A second after taking his eyes off the TV there was a massive roar from the crowd. Tim promptly turned around to see what the crowd excitement was all about.

    After learning what inspired all the excitement he turned to the other Goodies and angrily declared; “That’s the first time since 1936 in a test match at Lords that a fielder in the covers moved, and you guys made me miss it.”

    Kaye, I love cricket too, especially the test matches but I just don’t get the time to watch it anymore.

  25. GL

    Michael,

    “We are the lads of the MCC, MCC, OBE…”

  26. Michael Taylor

    GL, it would always appall me, when without fail, QandA would have Alan Jones on the panel when the topic was about a women’s issues and sexism.

    He’s the expert, apparently.

  27. leefe

    Cricket, as a sport, I love. The administration, what it has done to the game at an elite level and so many of the elite players these days … not so much.

    Nowadays I mostly get my fix with an hour or two beside a country or outer suburban oval with the grade teams playing. It’s still that same magical sight of players in white on a green oval, the same ebb and flow and subtlety, even if the skills are not at the same level as international or interstate games.

    Maybe it’s like faith: you have it or you don’t; you love cricket or you can’t understand it.

  28. Kathryn

    Hahahaha, thanks for the laughs, Michael Taylor! It confirms my belief that attempting to watch cricket (even with your eye lids firmly glued open) is more boring than watching paint dry. However, each to their own and there are, I am sure, millions out there who disagree with me. My young grandsons are both ex-soccer players who have now turned to OzTag which, IMHO, is infinitely more interesting to watch than being driven into a level of comatose lethargy watching a game of cricket!

    Kaye Lee, the fact that Cricket Australia so willingly – and quickly – accepted Paine’s proffered resignation makes me strongly suspect that Paine was heavily “pressured” into resigning when they got word that this piece of news was going to be released as yet another unsavoury topic to sell papers! Their action in “pretending” to come down hard on someone they perceive may be outed in the public arena then turning around and allowing him “to continue to be available for selection in the Test team through the Ashes summer” is pure hypocrisy!

  29. Michael Taylor

    Kaye/Kathryn,

    People are asking; “Why now?”

    I’m asking; “Why has it been covered up until now?”

    Why was it covered up in the first place?

    That lady deserves an apology from Cricket Australia.

  30. Michael Taylor

    Kathryn, some more laughs (at my expense):

    In 1976 (or 77) I shared a table with Imran Khan, who is now the Prime Minister of Pakistan.

    Back then we were a mirror image of each other and I was often asked if I was Imran Khan. The likeness was so great, that my best friend’s mother was shocked when watching a test match involving Pakistan and asked my friend why George (my nickname) was playing for Pakistan.

    About ten years ago I was chatting to a young Pakistani girl and told her I had met Imran and that we were once lookalikes, but not anymore, I said, as I’m now old an ugly and the likeness had gone.

    “Noooo,” she replied, which gave me a warm fuzzy feeling, until she said: “He’s old and ugly, too.”

    What a nasty, spiteful young girl. 😂

  31. Henry Rodrigues

    I stopped watching listening or taking even the most fleeting interest in cricket since Steve Waugh was captaining the side. Why ? Sledging was then regarded as a necessary skill equal to bowling, batting, or fielding, and it was justified and glorified as something Aussies excelled in. It came to a head at a test match when the Aussie close in fielders started sledging the Kiwi batter, making cruel heartless remarks about the recently departed sister of the batter whose name I don’t remember, by casting sinister reasons for her death. That was the last time I’ve ever watched any cricket match, in whatever format and whoever is playing.

    In retrospect that was probably is the Australian way that Scummo was referring to.

  32. GL

    The first and last time I attended a cricket match was back in 1972 at the Sydney Cricket Ground, it was some test of other, and I fell asleep after 25 minutes. The most exciting that occurred before I dropped off was watching a seagull land on the pitch.

  33. Michael Taylor

    I’m an armchair watcher of all sport, GL.

    Having only ever been to a test match once, back in the 1970s, and it was a dull game. Went to the toilet from where I heard a huge roar. I missed the only 6 hit on the day, which brought up the bloke’s century.

  34. wam

    I’m with you, henry, waugh and his mouth were an embarrassment as captain. Gilchrist lived up to the self-righteous context of his name whilst accepting praise for walking then he screams howzat when he knows the batter never touched the ball. So last two captains were a cheat and a prick-poser and the former is in the frame(sorry) for another stint. ps michael, 60 years ago a hippie came up and asked for my autograph he thought I was maynard g krebs.

  35. Geoff Andrews

    Kaye,
    At least your flight attendant friend can dine out on the fact that she’d rejected the warneing?

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