Politics and sports have always been a toxic combination


The story of Australia’s Manly Rugby League ‘Pride’ jersey once again reawakened the specter of virtue signaling in sport, showing how it creates so many contradictions and has unintended consequences.

The seven players who objected to wearing the jersey and missed Thursday night’s game against the Sydney Roosters are Polynesian and devout Christians, and have been heavily criticized for their stance. See no double standards in the treatment of AFLW player and practice Muslim Haneen Zuleika who refused to wear a beer brand and practice Muslim Fawad Ahmed who refused to put beer brand logos on Australian shirts I can’t afford it.

When the Wallabies recently played England in Sydney, they Singing the Australian national anthem in the local Indigenous language, Yugambe. However, Australia has over 300 indigenous languages ​​for her, so this can be considered an exclusion rather than an inclusion. After all, the Wallabies lost the match convincingly. The real purpose of sports competitions is to win, and to win by playing fair, isn’t it?

Starting in the early 1970s, South African sports teams were banned from international competition for 20 years in protest against the country’s apartheid system. The problem with this is that South Africa at this time had the best cricket and rugby union teams in the world, players were denied basic rights to trade on merit without discrimination based on nationality, spectators were I was denied that joy. looking at them In fact, these players have been punished for decisions made by the government. Of course, the government could not control it.

lack of consistency

Now, many may argue that South Africa’s apartheid policy is sufficient justification to exclude South Africa from the world’s sporting family. We must also ask why Iran has not been banned from international sporting competitions for supporting international terrorism that has resulted in civilian deaths and abusive treatment of women.

Another problem with virtue signals in sports is that they can backfire. In the 1980s, there was nothing wrong with South Africans Kevin Curran and Johan Creek playing on the hallowed grass courts of Wimbledon (in fact, Curran was a finalist against Boris Becker in 1985). ,This year Ban Russian and Belarusian athletes from competingwhich meant the tournament robbed its number one male player, Daniil Medvedev.

Epoch Times photo
Russia holds the trophy after defeating Serbia’s Novak Djokovic in the men’s singles final of the 2021 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York on September 12, 2021 of Daniil Medvedev. (Matthew Stockman) / Getty Images)

Wimbledon is the only Grand Slam tournament to impose a ban. In response, the Professional Tennis Association (ATP) and Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) have decided to remove ranking points from tournaments.

This led to the perverse result of men’s singles winner Novak Djokovic and runner-up Nick Kyrgios actually dropping in the rankings rather than being rewarded.

As ATP description at the time,

“It is fundamental to our tour that players of all nationalities can participate in tournaments without discrimination based on merit,” the ATP said.

“Wimbledon’s decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players from competing in the UK this summer undermines this principle and the integrity of the ATP ranking system.

“Our rules and agreements exist to protect the rights of our players as a whole. Unilateral decisions of this nature, if not addressed, set a damaging precedent for the rest of the Tour. Tournament discrimination cannot be enforced on a tour operating in more than 30 countries.”

of WTA releases statement Nearly 50 years ago, the WTA was founded on the basic principle that all players have an equal opportunity to compete on merit without discrimination. The WTA believes that individual athletes participating in individual sports should not be penalized or prevented from competing solely because of their nationality or government decisions. ”

When an argument was made in favor of allowing South African sports teams to compete in the World Games, it was quickly dismissed.


However, some sports organizations have begun to withdraw their virtue signals. 2018, F1 decides to ban grid girls, until then paraded through the pitlane and starting grid, doing promotional work. They wore clothes with the sponsor’s name on them and accompanied the drivers to the podium.

In announcing the ban, Sean Bratches, F1’s managing director of commercial operations, commented: Clearly, it contradicts modern social norms. ”

We do not believe this practice is appropriate or relevant for F1 and F1 fans old and new around the world,” he added.

But it looks like grid girls are back. They are participating in this year’s Monaco Grand Prix and other teams may follow suit. Race organizers realized that banning her girls from the grid would only be an unnecessary distraction from the actual race, and would actually harm women by depriving them of job opportunities. It may have been.

Catherine Deeves, Australian campaigner to save women’s sport, said: Many people say, “I don’t want to get involved in these political movements, I just want to play football.

Indeed, we must recognize that sports and politics are not mixed, after all. Indeed, professional sports should be an escape from political and partisan causes, not a means to promote them.

Views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The Epoch Times.

Rocco Loiacono


Rocco Loiacono is a senior lecturer and Italian to English translator at Curtin University Law School in Perth, Australia. His research in translation, linguistics and law has been widely published in peer-reviewed journals.