Changes in the Football Vernacular with Respect to the Verb Rape

For quite sometime now the AFL and other codes have been battling the sexual proclivities of players off the field. Whilst the Hopoate incident of 2001 is the only sexual catastrophe to occur on the field the numbers of footballers finding themselves in the media glare for their sexual behaviour off the field seems too numerous to count, this is a fact that seems to be reflected in the football vernacular.

Such incidents and ‘misunderstandings’ have been subsumed by some players into the word’s such as distrction’s as a catch-all term to refer to anything that might impede a teams performance. The cliché phrase “We certainly don’t like any distractions, we like to prepare physically and mentally for our upcoming opposition and we still do that” was recently used by St Kilda coach Ross Lyon at a pre-game press conference (reported here). The particular ‘distractions’ referred to a pregnant schoolgirl’s claim that the father of her unborn child could be one of two footballers from the club that she met at through a school football coaching clinic.

What the coach was meaning to say was “because two of our players are concerned that they may have got a school girl pregnant their minds might not be on the game.” A run of the mill distraction for a footballer these days is a sexual misconduct charge. Macha is out with a hammy, Donno was suspended for a bad tackle and Pacha is straining under the pressure of school-girls seeking child support payments.

In the light of questioning about the appropriateness of such sexual behavior the integrity of the school girl has come into question. Nevertheless, if she is claiming that the sexual conduct was in any way untoward there are two things that back her up – beyond whatever other evidence she might provide. Firstly, the claim itself. And secondly, changes in the football vernacular that point to some degree of correlation between the footballer and the rapist.

That linguistic change relates to the use of the verb rape.

The verb has had a constant presence in the football world. Most often it is used to describe an overwhelming victory. As for instance in the following: “The Roos raped the ‘pies on the weekend, 114 to 36.” Or in the sense attributed to the following statement yelled from one pack of supporters to another: “We’re going to rape you.” It must be admitted that the second variation is not used all that much. Perhaps because of confusion that could occur a clear preference for the first version is readily observable.

Recently, a new dimension to the verb’s use has emerged. Or so I am led to believe as a result of two train trips with football crowds.
On the first occasion I was privy to the following exclamation: “Go the Pies! … Hawks are rapists!” The exclamation came from a young boy and he was quickly scolded by his mother, not for the falsity of the statement but rather because it is rude to call somebody a rapist – in that innocent until proven guilty kind of way.

The second occasion was in a carriage similarly filled with football fans. It was prior to the game referred to by St Kilda coach Ross Lyon above. One fan was spruiking the chances of his team, the crows, against the St Kilda team, the saints. To this came the following reply from a St Kilda fan: “They might get in a few rapes, but they wont get any kicks.” It is unclear if this fan was aware of the ‘distractions’ that his team was facing.

These uses of the verb are much more closely tied to the footballers and their sexual conduct. The sense attributed to the word rape in the above incidents is not simply about animals raping each other as a representation of the prowess of one team over the other, it has retained its sexual meaning. One might interpret this as a growing awareness on the part of fans of the repulsiveness of rape or as simply a response to facts. Either way I find it an amusing development in the face of the constant efforts to try and ensure that young men paid heaps of money precisely because of aggression and the facility of their bodies are ‘family friendly’ role models both on and off the field. Amusing, in the same way that the result of a school football clinic is a pregnant teen is amusing.


About barkingcoins
This author is just another fucking dickhead.

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