It’s International Women’s Day tomorrow, and while it’s a fantastic day for women to celebrate their gender and their achievements, it’s no secret that violence against women is still prevalent, and attitudes surrounding the issue are, well, still pretty fucking shithouse. One sport really not doing well on the respect-women front is the NRL, where five players were charged for violence against women toward the end of 2018, including Jack De Belin and Jarryd Hayne for separate aggravated sexual assaults.
The topic came up on yesterday’s FoxSports NRL 360 programme, with St George Illawarra player James Graham implying that NRL attracts a certain “personality type” which explains the “bad behaviour”. However, former player Luke Lewis was absolutely not having this as an excuse, going IN on abusive players in what was quite a decent speech, IMO.
“You’ve either got morals, or you don’t. My morals are: you do not belt a woman. That’s just how it is,” he said matter-of-factly.
Luke Lewis delivers powerful message on player behaviour.
— Fox League (@FOXNRL) March 7, 2019
Um, yes. Exactly. He continued, explaining that using the culture as an excuse is piss-weak.
If we’re going to sit there and talk about our game changing and our culture changing, if you’re going to come into the game and get paid ridiculously well and you can’t change your morals because ‘we’ve got to change the culture’ — you’ve got to change the culture mentally. You’re the one who’s got to turn up and say ‘I don’t want to belt women, I want to be a different person, I want to be a role model’ and if you don’t want to do it, then don’t play our game. You just treat women with respect and it’s done, you don’t have any dramas.
Lewis went on to say the issue is personal for him.
I’ve seen my mum (experience) a lot of domestic violence at home. I’ve seen my mum get dragged down the hallway by her hair and get bashed. It’s not a good feeling. It goes through to the kids and the kids see it all the time, but the only one who’s going to change is the bloke who’s experienced it themselves. So if I experienced it as a kid and I don’t want to see it and I don’t want to see my daughter go through it, I’m the one who’s got to make the change. No one else is going to make me change unless I make the decision to do it.
Before he said what is quite possibly my new favourite quote for anything relating to people being deadshits and then trying to argue that their deadshittiness has an excuse.
“You either believe in [respect for women] and you buy into it, or you’re just a grub. That’s my personal opinion.”
Whatever your opinion on the NRL issue, I think we can all agree that people using their platform to make positive statements that encourage respect for women and to shut down excuses for abusive and violent behaviour is a good thing.