But this far and no further, you bastards. Naden called security, and they were ejected.
What made Naden act?
The actions of Adam Goodes back in 2013 almost certainly had something to do with it. As you’ll recall, Goodes also was being abused, but drew his own line in the sand, and had the perpetrator ejected. For his trouble, Goodes himself was so badly vilified – the likes of Alan Jones demonising him, while lionising his harasser – that he ended up leaving the game.
But Goodes’ actions were so inspirational regardless – as superbly shown in two recent documentaries, Ian Darling’s The Final Quarter and Stan Grant’s The Australian Dream – that he not only changed his game, but other games too.
For witness the support that Naden rightly received after taking his action last weekend. Not only did the commentators on the box at the time laud his actions, but there has not been a single word of critical commentary since. And as opposed to what the AFL did at the time with Goodes – stone-cold, motherless nothing – Naden has received full support from the NRL. Most wonderfully of all, as reported by Chris Barrett, “fellow crowd members have come forward to assist with the [NRL] probe.”
In the AFL, seven years ago, Goodes draws a line in the sand, and is immediately vilified for it, including a mass booing from the mob that went on for freaking years. Naden takes the same courageous stand in 2020, and the crowd there at the time want to help, and he has the full support of the commentators.
Bravo the lot of them, and the laurels go to those with the courage to make the stand in the first place.
I guess somewhere in the history of rugby league there has been a coach who has had a worse year, I just can’t think of one right now. For whatever reason, in 2020 Broncos have been no more than shadows of shadows of their former selves, have been regularly thumped by 50 points and look like they simply don’t want to be there. From the carnage on the field, the cameras regularly go to Seibold in the box, a chained Nero watching while Rome burns, not even able to fiddle around the edges. For what can he do?
Whatever ails that team it can’t be fixed by doing what he probably wants to do – either punching his fist through the window, or throwing himself to the ground and weeping … or both. No, he has to just sit there and take it.
But cop vicious rumours with no foundation in truth, accused of terrible things that threaten his team, his coaching career and what is left of his family’s equanimity at a particularly difficult time? Cop it, just as others in the public domain have had to suffer vicious slurs put against their name, and inevitably believed by enough dumbos that the thing takes on a life of its own.
Nup. This far, and no further. He doesn’t have to take it, and by engaging a cyber-security firm from Europe is going to hold someone to account. Now, I don’t quite know how cyber-sleuthing works, but I imagine it has something to do with working your way back through the vicious online stuff until you get to the super-spreader, the one who started it all and then crack the code of who is actually hiding behind the always anonymous account.
Ideally, someone who has been hiding in the cowardice of anonymity is about to be dragged kicking and screaming into the light and be held accountable – reportedly with Seibold pursuing criminal charges. May we wish him well. It will be his courage, like that displayed by Goodes and Naden, that helps all those who will follow.
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Peter FitzSimons is a journalist and columnist with The Sydney Morning Herald.