Off the Wall

The media circus over Darren Lockyer's injury was entirely predictable - but the claim that by playing he would undermine his "role model" status was surely unadulterated nonsense?

Medical specialist after medical specialist - none of whom has actually treated Lockyer - were parade on television offering their "professional opinion", players, including AFL players, who has similar injuries gave their views, and so did a myriad of politicians (why can't they leave sport alone for a while like the mob want them to?) and media commentators.

But I thought one aspect of the "commentary" on whether or not he should play really was quite unfair and unnecessary.

At least one "authority" on children in sport said that if he played, in apparent defiance of "expert" opinion, then he would be undermining his "role model" status with young footballers and fans. Really?

The "role model" tag is attached too easily to sports men, and women.

And to suggest that if Darren Lockyer decided to play then he would be undermining his role model status is totally over the top.

Does anyone serious suggest that if Lockyer had decided to play he would be damaging his standing with boys - and girls - who follow his career intently?

The decision surely needed to be medical based, and on Lockyer's own assessment, which, after 16 years playing at the highest level of the game he ought to be competent to make?

And, in the end, it is apparently how things turned out.

The media circus in Brisbane in the immediate aftermath of his injury had to be seen to be believed.....front page, and back page, and it led just about every television nightly news bulletin.

But at least that was better than the Sydney coverage of a first grader on a domestic violence change - and not for the first time!