|Issue No 106||10 August 2001|
The Locker Room
Jim Marr's World in Turmoil
What sort of hemisphere are we living in when golfers, and Kiwi golfers at that, lead the sporting community in terms of social commentary?
You would think footy players, given so many of their backgrounds, would have interesting thoughts about life but no, it appears that since Super League, they don't have any thoughts at all, unless, that is, an issue immediately affects them or their bank balances.
Okay, under Steve Waugh, the cricketers haven't been too bad but definitely not in the class of former Liverpool team-mates, Robbie Fowler and Steve McMenamin, who wore suspensions for lifting their red shirts to tv cameras and revealing logos proclaiming "I Support the Liverpool Dockers".
Now don't get us wrong. We're not suggesting that every dingbat who kicks-throws-hits a ball should be out there pronouncing on matters of state - far from it.
But, once in a while, it would be nice to come across evidence that our sports people are more than just self-centred athletes.
It is especially encouraging when the likes of Fowler and McMenamin enter controversies for the purpose of identifying with their fan base.
It's what the Newcastle Knights did, under Englishman Mal Reilly, when they visited a CFMEU picket line on the way to the 1997 grand final.
And, it's essentially what golfers Michael Campbell and Greg Turner have been doing over the past month.
They threatened to boycott this year's out-sourced NZ Open because organisers are charging fans $500 a head for a tournament that normally costs $50. The slug will help offset the $NZ5 million appearance fee going to Tiger Woods, but Turner and Campbell argue, it will also prevent the majority of ordinary golfers from attending "their" Open.
Campbell, reluctantly, came to an agreement after organisers agreed under-16s could attend for nothing. He remains critical of the concept and has pledged to put any prizemoney he wins into junior golf or his favourite charity.
Turner stands firm on a concept he has labelled a "corporate wank".Campbell and Turner are interesting fellows.
A couple of years ago Campbell turned up to a swish Gold Coast pro-am with his Dad and then NZ Council of Trade Unions president, Ken Douglas, as his guests.
Turner is even further "out there".
His brothers are poet and former NZ hockey player, Brian, and outstanding Kiwi opening bat, Glenn, whose Indian-born wife, Sukhi, is the Green mayor of conservative southern city Dunedin.
Turner, courtesy of his golfing prowess, pens a column in a weekend paper which, often as not, is given over to lacerating New Right economics and philosophies.
One NZ Herald commentator had this to say about his opposition to Open 2002 Ltd's pricing structure.
"Is there a parallel between the change in the management structure of the Open and the privatisation of certain erstwhile state assets? If there is, it would provide Greg Turner with a reason to want nothing to do with it.
"Indeed, given the wide dissemination of his political views, it is surely the most likely reason for his stance."
JUST in case you hadn't heard, Robbie Waterhouse will be fielding at tomorrow's Rosehill gallops.
There are all sorts of issues about Waterhouse's return from 17 years in exile that have adminstrators twitchy. Not the least his warning off for prior knowledge of the Fine Cotton ring-in and his close relationship with leading trainer Gai Waterhouse.
Issues of corporate governance, however, do not by-and-large determine why people do or don't go to the races and, right now, they aren't going in droves.
TAB moves to drain the sport of colour have led to a grey betting ring where none of the satchel swingers takes anything remotely resembling a chance.
When Waterhouse last fielded he and his father were known for backing their instincts, taking a chance, leading the market.
Whether or not they want to or, indeed, can afford to in the current climate is doubtful.
It might be long odds but, with Sydney racing on its uppers, it is a gamble that has to be taken.
Interview: In Exile
Burmese's government in exile's Minister for Justice U Thein Oo talks about a struggle for democracy that has become a test of international solidarity.
Politics: A National Disgrace
Labor's IR spokesman Arch Bevis gives his take on the workers entitlements issue and its mismanagement by the Howard Government.
E-Change: 2.2 The Information Organisation
Peter Lewis and Michael Gadiel look at how network technologies will change the way organizations operate in the Information Age.
Media: The Fine Print
Mark Hebblewhite looks at how the major dailies handled the Tri-Star dispute and finds that the story really does depend on the telling.
Human Rights: A People Besieged
Labor MLC Janelle Saffin, an active supporter of the pro-Democracy movement in Burma, sets out the issues behind the ILO sanctions.
International: Postcard From Brazil
The CFMEU’s Phil Davey reports on a rural movement that puts our National Farmers Federation to shame.
History: Indonesia Calling
They needed no resolutions. Soldiers and workers who did not know one another moved together, the black ban started to reach out across the harbour from the noisy, smoke-filled room.
Solidarity: On the Frontline
Australian trade unionists are providing practical help for the Burmese through projects funded by APHEDA-Union Aid Abroad.
Satire: Skase 'Too Ill' to Fly Home for Burial
Spanish authorities have deemed Christopher Skase too ill to return to Australia for his own funeral.
Review: Living Silence
In these extracts from her new book, Christina Fink goes inside Burma to find a world where military repression is slowly crushing a people.
View entire latest issue
© 1999-2000 Labor Council of NSW
LaborNET is a resource for the labour movement provided by the Labor Council of NSWURL: http://workers.labor.net.au/106/b_sportspage_jim.html
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2005