Radio station Triple M has a new employee in former Hawks and Suns player Campbell Brown. This is the same man who was sacked less than three months ago for assaulting his own teammate. Only in the world of football media could you receive such a tremendous opportunity after committing a heinous act like breaking a young man’s jaw.
The primary reason Brown has been given a role at the station, of course, is because of his status as a former player. Quite simply, he’s ‘one of the boys’ and fits the demographic of Triple M perfectly. This train of thought which exists in many football media circles is incredibly short-sighted and detrimental to the quality of journalism and insight into the sport.
Everywhere you look, there are former players giving their ‘special comments’ or penning columns in some of the biggest publications in the country. While some of these people provide interesting and important perspectives on the game, many of them don’t possess a suitable level of journalistic skill that should be held by people in such high positions. There seems to be a significant bias that permeates the industry. It not only weakens media outlets, but shuts out many talented journalists who do not have professional playing experience.
A glaring example of the boys club can be found in both primary television commentary teams. Channel 7 and Fox Footy are filled with former players and despite there being a select few that are quite intelligible, such as Tom Harley, Cameron Ling and Leigh Matthews, the majority provide very little compared to what a well-researched broadcaster could.
The newest addition to the Seven commentary team once again follows the boys club theory and to a lesser extent mirrors Brown’s appointment. Wayne Carey will be providing special comments on Seven’s Friday night games and his checkered past lingers much like Campbell Brown’s indiscretions. Obviously many of Carey’s controversial actions occurred many years ago but if a regular journalist had been charged with indecent assault, battery, resisting arrest and glassing their girlfriend in the face, would they be welcomed with open arms into a cushy media job?
It’s extremely detrimental to the industry if every single media spot is handed to a former player and especially those with violent histories. It also sends a bad message to young journalists; even if you are the best broadcaster available, you’ll probably just be passed over for the Wayne Careys and Campbell Browns of the world.