According to a recent story in The Monthly, “Australians are the biggest gamblers on earth, losing more than $24 billion a year”.
“Gambling losses of $1068 per adult in 2017 were 40 per cent higher than in the next highest country, Singapore, more than twice as high as in the United States, about three times the level in the United Kingdom, more than four times that in Germany and France and 30 times as large as those in Ireland.”
And so there you have it. At a time when this country has a real problem with endemic gambling destroying lives and tearing apart families, the administrators of our national game make their move: they nail to the wall, as a warning to others, someone who inadvertently pissed off the gambling czars. She wasn’t doing anything corrupt, she wasn’t cheating, wasn’t placing bets against her side to win – or anything remotely of that nature. She just posted a team-list up an hour early. And for this she gets a nominally equal suspension perpetrators of #sandpapergate.
What is wrong with this picture?
The Israel Folau thing? So insanely over the top are his latest comments from the pulpit – God sent the bushfires that have killed four people and destroyed 300 homes in regional Australia, to punish us for passing same sex marriage laws – that it is genuinely time for whatever mates he has left from his football days to stage an intervention.
“Israel, are you ok? What can we do to help? Mate, you really need to see someone, get counselling. Your early posts were delusional, true, but this is NEXT LEVEL delusional. Do you think a fair clue that you’ve even lost the angry mob previously supporting you, might be when Alan Jones turns on you and tells you to zip it? And as someone noted on Twitter: Do you think if God was sending fireballs to punish gay supporters, he’d start on Tenterfield and Yeppoon, while leaving Oxford St and Newtown untouched? Israel, get help.”
Right Royal disgrace
It was the Royal writer and editor, Charlie Proctor, who said it best on the Prince Andrew interview.
Take it away, Charlie …
“I expected a train wreck,” he posted on Twitter. “That was a plane crashing into an oil tanker, causing a tsunami, triggering a nuclear explosion level bad.”
Indeed. And this was merely the opening remarks of what would prove to be tsunami of – rightly – negative reaction as the world reeled in horror from what deeply entrenched entitled privilege really looks like, from one who has clearly been operating on the assumption that the normal rules are just for the little people. But don’t get me started!
As to the link to the sports pages – beyond Windsor’s one admission that he had “let the side down”, by consorting with a convicted paedophile, (Gee, do ya think?) – it was in this exchange.
Interviewer, Emily Maitlis: “Am I right in thinking you threw a birthday party for Epstein’s girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell at Sandringham?”
Prince Andrew: “No, it was a shooting weekend.”
Maitlis: “A shooting weekend.”
Prince Andrew: “Just a straightforward, a straightforward shooting weekend.”
See? Just a “straightforward shooting weekend”, where you get an all but equally privileged bunch of Hooray Henrys and Henriettas together on the 8,000 hectare Sandringham estate, paid for and sustained by the British people’s taxes, and shoot defenceless creatures – pheasants, grouse et al – purely for the sport of it.
As Oscar Wilde once famously said of fox-hunting: “The unspeakable in pursuit of the inedible.”
What they said
Incoming Wallaby coach Dave Rennie: “I think Australians want their national team coached by an Australian and I’m OK with that.” Welcome, Dave, I guess. But an odd comment, when you are a Kiwi?
Israel Folau from the pulpit: “Look how rapid these bushfires, these droughts, all these things have come in a short period of time, do you think it’s a coincidence? God is speaking to you guys – Australia, you need to repent and take these laws and turn it back into what is right by God.”
Alan Jones on Folau’s latest comments: “Israel, button up.” How dare Jones! What happened to Jones’ endless attempted defence of the indefensible by screeching “Free speech! Free speech!”? Why doesn’t that apply now? (Apart from the fact such gibberish severely embarrasses even his defenders.)
Scott Morrison on Folau: “Let’s just focus on those who need our help most and if people don’t have something sensible or helpful to say, can you just keep it to yourself?” See?
Finnish footballer Teemu Pukki after he helped guide Finland into their first major tournament, Euro 2020: “I’m speechless. This is sick. We made it!”
Cristiano Ronaldo on scoring his 99th international goal, leaving him 10 behind Ali Daei’s record: “All records must be broken and I will beat that record.”
Cleveland Browns’ Myles Garrett on getting into a fight and hitting an opponent with his helmet: “Last night, I made a terrible mistake. I know that we are all responsible for our actions and I can only prove my true character through my actions going forward.”
Eddie Jones still dwelling on the World Cup Final: “It goes through your head all the time, it is not something that gets lost easily.”
While Wallaby captain Michael Hooper feels much the same: “I’m still dwelling over the games, what moments could we have done differently, what in the lead-up could we have done differently, I don’t think that’s ever going to leave me, that’s going to haunt me. We gave it everything, we gave it everything…”
Zlatan Ibrahimovic on leaving the LA Galaxy: “I came, I saw, I conquered. Thank you @lagalaxy for making me feel alive again. To the Galaxy fans – you wanted Zlatan, I gave you Zlatan. You are welcome. The story continues . . . Now go back to watch baseball.” Football fans can tell me – is this bloke entirely up himself, or can you still see his ankles?
Alexander Zverev not a fan of the new Davis Cup format: “I don’t think the format is Davis Cup any more. I think Davis Cup is the most historic event that we have in tennis, which is over 100 years old, and Davis Cup is the home-and-away ties. That’s Davis Cup for me, and not playing it at one venue for one week and deciding it all.”
Great Britain coach Wayne Bennett on losing to Papua New Guinea: “They played pretty good and we had some great moments in the game but they played, I reckon, 42 minutes at their best and we played 38 at our best and they got more points than we did.”
Dominic Thiem losing the ATP Finals final: “It’s a tough moment for me. It was an unbelievable match. Stefanos, we are playing the most brutal sport existing. It was so close. I gave 110%, but that’s how it is.” As ever, 110% is just not enough these days.
Justin Langer on why Usman Khawaja not playing in the first Test: “In this instance, we probably don’t need a 33-year-old like Uzzie not playing the Test match.” Me? I don’t have no clue.
Team of the Week
Ash Barty. The world No.1 used her brief respite from tennis to watch the Australians play on the first day of the first Test against Pakistan at the Gabba.
Mitchell Starc. In his comeback Test after being snubbed during the Ashes, put the Pakistan team to the sword at the Gabba, taking 4/52 from 18 overs in the first innings.
Naseem Shah. Just 16 years old, made his debut for Pakistan this week. Surprisingly, only the ninth-youngest player to make his Test debut.
Ben Simmons. Finally hit a three-pointer, in his 172nd game in the NBA!
Papua New Guinea. Defeated Great Britain in rugby league.
Sydney Kings. Defeated the Hawks 92-87 in front of 17,514 spectators in the Sydney arena, the largest gathering in its 40-year existence.
Cameron Smith. Has announced he will play on for the Melbourne Storm, despite turning 37 in June next year.
Peter FitzSimons is a journalist and columnist with The Sydney Morning Herald.