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This is an old story
It repeats itself every sporting annual calendar since this 2013 story - the Rugby League world was in uproar when the referees allowed a seventh tackle in the Cronulla Sharks – North Queensland Cowboys quarter-finals game in a 2013 September and from that illegal play the Cronulla Sharks scored and eventually went on to win by 2 points.
All six referees involved in that game were subsequently unceremoniously ditched from any referee role in 2013 and more so, no action has been taken against any of the North Queensland Cowboy coaches, officials or players who have come out into the public arena on this woeful situation.
OK, the referees have been punished. They'll come back next year. Hello! The North Queensland Cowboys were put out of the finals competition. No second chance for them, no chance at the pennant. No grand-final celebration through the streets of Sydney.
Questions relating to officials being called to account are now right and centre and an article from News.com has called for a $10,000 fine, not upon the referees, but upon the officials / organisation.
Paul Crawley from the Daily Telegraph has pounced on this citing case after case and bringing forth a recommendation that might have the big wigs of the game hauled to account and to bear ultimate responsibility. Pigs might fly. Race ahead to 2018 in the NRL - two weeks ago there was uproar when a drop kick or was it a dropped ball …... ? On and on and on and on …...
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Current - then there is the cricket
Three Australian cricketers suspended, two for 12 months and one for 9 months for their part in ball tampering in South Africa. This was huge news not only in Australia but around the world and the ABC had a 40 minute special in their 7.30pm spot on Easter Monday 2 April.
After the three cricketers' separate press conferences with tears and submission for their part in this ugly event there was an outpouring of national forgiveness and a consideration that the penalties issued by Cricket Australia were far too high.
That ABC program cited above had cricketing personalities calling for Cricket Australia itself and its senior people to fall on their own swords for allowing the team culture to get where it was. Not only former cricketing people but a former Prime Minister has called for Cricket Australia likewise. The coach, although cleared of any wrong doing fell on his sword that his time was also up, there was no where to go (as it were).
Then the AOC recognises Peter Normal after 50 years ….. I wrote of this on Monday 30 April.
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Many other stories
The Commonwealth Games closing ceremony leaving the athletes out of the telecast – it was horrible – Peter Beatty took the blame – but we all know he did not make this specific decision. The stadium was only half full at the end. The people involved simply walk away.
But this whole issue broaches other areas of society not least the legal and judicial profession. Recently a young woman had been imprisoned waiting for trial for three and a half years without bail. The circumstantial evidence was strong. The bail hearing decided that it would be unwise to release her from custody and eventually the case found its way to a court case three and a half years later. The prosecutors case fell apart. The young woman was told by the court she was free to go.
Her three and a half years in a prison situation came before the Ombudsman but she has been told that no one in the system has a case to answer. The process was above board, it was out in the open, the fact that she was found innocent and without a case to answer does not in any way show any discrimination against her person.
Or those who I have detailed previously in this column from Griffith University Innocence Project including the classic USA cases where DNA has cleared incarcerated people, some after 45 years. A month ago a man in the USA who had been imprisoned for 45 years and then cleared, exonerated.
Recently, there was a cry for help from the Foster Care community as it was increasingly becoming difficult to place teenage girls for the fear of good decent family men being 'falsely accused' and once accused, the system takes over, and it's all over red-rover!
Does anyone take responsibility
Does anyone take responsibility in any of these things? Way back in 2013 the Sydney Daily Telegraph's Paul Crawley says that in Sport there should be those who need to take ultimate responsibility. None of us have seen too much of this?
In our Westminster system such actions are expected. Politicians (should) fall on their swords when something goes horribly wrong. Why not Rugby League officials? Why not Judges and Attorneys? The Royal Commission into sexual abuse has seen church hierarchy called to account. But many church officials seem to be exempt when things go wrong in other areas of church life.
Here's a suggestion - how about they go digging ditches from 8am-4.00pm for the local Shire – the Gulag experience perhaps. Or how about bringing back the stocks with rotten tomatoes at the ready.
Giving officials a free ride is increasingly encouraging a society that “disrespects” and this will lead to ….. just look at what's happening on the streets …. a lad out walking with his girl, king hit, dead! Why respect any of it, it doesn't matter, the biggin's don't take responsibility ….
Just look at Victorian Labor who paid back the $380,000 plus for their electoral actions and spent, what was it, almost a $1m going through the Courts including the High Court to get the Victorian Ombudsman's report squashed. And further, consider what has come out of the Banking Royal Commission.
Public trust is in the gutter be it sport, business, the financial world, politics, the church - who will fix this? It starts with every one of us getting back to Biblical principles in the way we conduct our lives. The ultimate question is not what someone else did and said and the hurt or destruction their actions created, rather what we said or did. Frightening isn't it! The Banking Royal Commission has seen what disasters in people's lives has been left behind.
No free passes in this – but there is personal forgiveness through Jesus Christ's death on the cross and his Resurrection. There are always consequences of our actions that even the Scriptures highlight for the good ordering of the life of the community.
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Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children. Dr Tronson writes a daily article for Christian Today Australia (since 2008) and in November 2016 established Christian Today New Zealand.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at