While television stations would not play images of naked people running across the field because it was deemed too offensive, they had no qualms about broadcasting fist fights between players and using it as promotion for the next game.
This statement arises from hearings of the Standing Committee on Family, Community, Housing and Youth which held a public hearing at Queensland's Parliament House in Brisbane.
Well-Being Australia chairman Mark Tronson, who pioneered the Sports and Leisure Ministry in 1982-2000 and negotiated the placement of chaplains in Australian professional sport, has some serious suggestions on this issue.
In his view there are macro and micro issues and they are different. The macro involves what we see on television; images of top line professionals are there for all to see, when they engage in everything from minor fist fights to outright thuggery.
M V Tronson say that its obvious to television viewers when one player tackles another and puts unnecessary and 'injury inducing' biff into the effort.
His question is, at what point does that activity become assault?
It's on television, it's not hidden; so the issue for sport administrators and the public prosecuting service, is who will be the first to stand tall on this issue and take it to court and 'hopefully' create a far reaching precedent?
The micro situation is a lot more difficult to adjudicate but it is equally important as this is grass roots sport and where thuggery is rife and needs to be cut out.
"What is seen on television in professional sport is replicated even more robustly and subtly at the local grass roots level," notes Mark Tronson. "The issue of 'injury inducing' biff is rampant, but it is surreptitious when it is not on national television. Some situations are vicious, and it is all hidden behind the name of 'physical sport' and referees or umpires seem oblivious to any responsibility."
Broken legs and arms are part of sport, and accidents do happen. He cites his own local public hospital (Tweed Heads) that over two successive weekends, he was reliably informed they received two broken legs and a broken arm from soccer. At what point is a seemingly 'innocent' assault deemed thuggery?
M V Tronson advocates three legal strategies for implementation.
First, as already happens in many sporting codes in any case, every game from junior to grade, should be videoed. Therefore a new rule should be implemented: 'No video equipment or video operator equals no play'.
Second, an additional official is placed on site, someone officially appointed but un-associated with the referees, whose task it is to hear any complaint of thuggery and who will then view the video and make a recommendation to the Clubs. This person needs to be separate from the umpires as the umpires task is 'supposedly' to adjudicate such thuggery actions but miss so much of it.
Third, should a Club then wish to take legal action, both the video footage and the official report will become evidence. Alternatively, both parties could seek meditation through this official, whether as an immediate informal solution or through a professional counselling agency.
This methodology, Mark Tronson says, would not subject the courts to impossible schedule crowding, but provide a number of options, including that of the courts.
Moreover, as sport judiciary systems have obviously shown to date that they have been unable to prevent thuggery, this provides a mechanism forward to help stamp out unacceptable behaviour at junior and senior club level, before it becomes entrenched in the psyche of the professional sports people and that of so many administrators who seem oblivious to the seriousness of the issue at the present time.