Sportsmen Behaving Badly

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This is not a startling headline, is it? We’re used to sportsmen (not sportswomen, to my recollection) getting drunk, fighting in nightclubs, abusing women…

But today the Australian newspapers are full of a story about Mitchell Pearce, Captain of a Sydney-based rugby league team. Someone posted a video-clip of him behaving very badly indeed in a woman’s home, and it went viral. You can see it online if you want to know the details. It’s pretty disgusting.

My first thought was, “Oh no, not another one.” Then I looked at the clip and had a more profound thought. How should we expect newcomers to Australia – or perhaps I should say ‘the Western World’ because this kind of thing is not exclusive to Australia – to react?

I’m thinking of immigrants from very conservative cultures, including but not exclusively Muslims. Will they not recoil from the culture that produces such exhibitions? Will they not retreat into their own culture, beliefs and values? More to the point, will they not try to protect their children from such malign influences, sending them to separate schools and denying them contact with children from other backgrounds who might ‘pollute’ them?

Mr Pearce and his ilk may be promoting the ghettoisation of our society, with far-reaching and very negative consequences.

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