Sex and sport: when reputation doesn’t matter

Something’s not right when, in this day and age, peak sports bodies don’t take action when they know there’s an issue. I’m referring to the sex scandals involving Cronulla Rugby Leagues Club and the Australian Soccer Federation.

Sure, they will say they took action. But the Cronulla group sex act occurred seven years ago, and the Australian Youth soccer player appeared in court last September. The ASF says it didn’t know its player had been charged. Really?

Their apparent (immediate) lack of concern for alleged victims is appalling. Their understanding of reputation management practices is also astounding.

This attitude is perhaps reflected in the response over the past three weeks to a national survey I am conducting of major sports bodies and clubs on reputation. Of 91 communications “professionals”, only 16 bothered to respond.

Perhaps I can salvage something from the survey and ensuing interviews. I doubt whether these clubs can.
The sports media is compliant in all these “affairs”. I spent 17 years on metro dailies. The journos don’t report it because if they do the clubs cut off contact with them, so they’re effectively out of a job. Liam Bartlett was the journalist who broke the Ben Cousins story, as he had nothing to lose. And on it goes.

It probably doesn’t matter (well it does for the victims) because I believe much of professional sport will “eat itself”, either because of the inability of Australia to support so many professional sports (e.g, basketball) or due to the continuing scandals (e.g, Manly, Cronulla) or a combination of both.


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