This page updated Thursday, December 18, 2014 8:22 PM

Mad AFL fan explains why he and his family will no longer watch the game he once loved


If AJ wanted to watch this sort of thing, he’d stay home and put on a horror movie. Source: News Corp Australia.

  RECENTLY, I have heard much about low AFL attendance figures from around the country, particularly in Perth, across both of our AFL teams.

  I began to ask why, and looked at my own experience with my decreasing enthusiasm/concern for the game of Aussie Rules football.

  I was once a one-eyed West Coast Eagles supporter. I hated every other team. But then I grew up. I joined the Navy and started travelling the world.

  I began to miss the game, and when visiting foreign countries, particularly in Asia, I, along with my mates, would watch whatever game was being televised, no matter who was playing.

  Soon I began to appreciate the skills of other players, other coaches and I began to learn more about the game. Soon, I had lost my hatred for other players and teams. I just loved the game.

  Then rules began to change, the game was full-time professional with all the media coverage you could poke a stick at as well as social media like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. It was everywhere, it was too much.

  Then the reports came in about players being involved in drugs, with criminals, betting scandals, followed by the constant criticism of the game, the umpires, the unfair fixtures, sexual assault allegations and finally the Essendon vs. the AFL and ASADA saga and all it encompasses.

  All this on top of (at least here in WA) issues with seating at Subiaco Oval (now called Patersons Stadium), the price of food, the behaviour and language of some people in the crowd that my 7-year-old is exposed to, the price of food and the time frame of the whole event makes me wonder whether a trip to the park to play is better than a trip to the footy.

  Finally, last Friday night, my 7-year-old witnessed two players involved in an altercation (North Melbourne vs. Hawthorn: Brian Lake and Drew Petrie). I thought nothing of it until there was what looked like an eye-gouge followed by a choking grip on a player’s throat.

  Playing “find the eyeballs” is not, repeat not, football. Source: News Corp Australia

  My son became animated, concerned and questioned why they were allowed to do this, and stated that “this isn’t in the rules Daddy”. He also asked why the umpires didn’t do anything. I’ve got to agree with him there!

  All weekend he kept asking and wanting to talk about how bad it was. This impact on my son was the last straw. Both my wife and I discussed AFL as being “dead” to us. The game has changed so much in the last few years it actually resembles Rugby union. But this violence was the nail in the coffin for us.

  We are a sporting family and enjoy watching everything from soccer (which with all that happens sometimes is not much better), tennis, netball, basketball and even motor racing. He is a 7-year-old boy after all.

  For our family, realising violence has become a way to solve problems in society, do we really want to see it in when we are home enjoying family time? No.

  So AFL, you are dead to me. It has been a while coming, but RIP.

  Of course I will still watch the “blockbuster” games, but as a sports loving family, we will play the game with our kids in the back yard or at the park — the right way, without the violence, the negativity and the chaos — rather than continue to watch the life be strangled out of the game I once played and loved.


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