Showdown crowds are a different world. There is something about the rivalry between Adelaide and Port Adelaide that at times can bring out the worst in people. Two incidents have gained media attention since the conclusion of Saturday Night’s game, but it is the media and those on social media who have lost a bit of perspective and do not help the problem.
Every team, across every code around the globe has supporters from all areas of life. It is for this reason that every supporter base will have bad eggs, no matter where the team is from or who the team is. We are all guilty of emotional behaviour at times, but directing claims at an entire supporter base, because of what a few people have done is wrong.
Images of a brawl at Adelaide Oval during Showdown 42 were posted to social media across the weekend and of course picked up by The Advertiser and turned into a big story. A quick glance at the comments section of the post and you will soon realise that giving it such attention only inflames the hostile relationship between supporter bases and so the blame game begins.
The media have a role to report the news, but sometimes the way articles are written is less of the reporting and more of the creating of a story. The Advertiser story did not lead with the fact that there were no more arrests or evictions from Adelaide Oval than usual, but rather gave descriptions of the brawl and hints at laying the blame at one supporter base over another.
In another incident on Showdown night, others were quick to point out a Facebook post that was posted by a member of the public, which had huge racial connotations and was absolutely disgraceful. This was again shared thousands of times across social media, which to me only gives the person what they wanted, which is attention. If not a Port Adelaide member, I am not sure what they are meant to do about it either with many people reporting the post to Club. While racism should be called out, perhaps it is best to do that through appropriate channels rather than aggravating the situation on social media, which can at times lead to more appalling behaviour. Sometimes the best way to deal with it would be to report it to the Facebook powers to be and get it taken down and leave it at that. Personally abusing the person who committed the crime is not always the answer or at all helpful.
After sitting next to the Port Adelaide cheer squad on Saturday night, I could go into detail about several incidents that were inappropriate, intimidating and wrong, but I am sure someone sitting at the other end of the ground could just as easily say the same about certain portions of the Adelaide crowd. No club is immune from this.
Arguments too that the media go easy on AFL crowds, but are harsh on the behaviour that occurs at A-League games are just wrong. The reporting, while in most cases over-exaggerated, is not particularly different. Having said that, while I have seen plenty of acts of anti-social behaviour at AFL games, I have never experienced as much violence and hate than at particular A-League games. That is a far greater problem than what is going on at Showdown’s or across the AFL for that matter.
The answer is that we all need to take a deep breath and realise that sport is just a game and the problem is not as bad as what the media would have you believe. Nonetheless, support your team to your heart’s content, but remember that there is a line. Hitting each other, spitting and abusing others is wrong. Acting in an aggressive way towards opposition supporters is the complete opposite to what sport is meant to be about. A ribbing here and there during the game and a handshake at the end. That is the way sport should be. It is a lesson we could all be helped in being reminded of.
Picture – Fox Sports