A series of events has piled up over the past few days to lead me to this sad conclusion.
1. Brendan Fevola
Firstly, and this is best discussed in this excellent post by Greg, is the mental picture that one has of Carlton full-forward Brendan Fevola losing his mind in a pub in Galway, grabbing a barman who refused to serve him any more beer and putting him in a headlock.
Fevola was on the end-of-year junket known formally as the "International rules" series that
Fevola then went on to play the race card in his defence - a somewhat bizarre and undignified rant about the Aboriginal members of the team copping a sledging everywhere they went. Never mind that this is no excuse for assault.
The AFL immediately sent him home. At least they did the right thing here. But more on the AFL later.
After doing a runner to Scandinavia, he has since returned to Ireland to be formally given an 'adult warning' by the Garda. But that's not the worst thing. At the end of the home-and-away season, Fevola was talked about as a future skipper of the Blues. Ain't gunna happen now, buddeye.
After Fevola calms down and pulls himself together, the resulting interview titled, 'Why my brain finally walked out the door,' should make ratings history for the network that manages to land it.
2. Willie Mason and rugby league
After Fevola's indiscretions, we then had rugby league forward Willie Mason punch someone on the rugby league field in a test match between Australia and Great Britain.
This was bad enough, however, Mason showed some initiative of sorts by claiming as a defence that this was a pre-emptive strike, and that had he not punched, he would have been punched. Fortunately, he was disciplined by whoever the tribunal/judiciary body is that deals with international rugby league matches and given a ban. For 1 game.
Mind you, rugby league is not a good example. Punching is routinely overlooked in rugby league, leading to lenient sentences being handed out and cries of inconsistency. Also, the administrators of this particular sport seem to take some misanthropic delight in playing up this gladiatorial aspect of the game.
Australian coach Ricky Stuart put it best when he said this:
"I see this is a part of football. The media promote it. Our marketing promote this. Tell me you won't see Willie Mason on the TV again dropping this bloke. We're talking about tribal war here . . . that's what gives our game the X-factor.
"That's Test-match football. That's what makes our game so different to every other footy code and every other sport. I don't condone violence but don't put it in the papers, don't put it on TV. Don't promote it."
When rugby league's hypocrisy can be laid so starkly bare, it's no surprise that players such as Mason get so ridiculously out of control.
3. The second "International rules" "football" "test match"
And on the subject of thuggery, getting back to "International rules" for a moment, the events of the second test match on the weekend in Dublin between Ireland and Australia had to be seen to be believed.
During the week, the media played up comments by Australian players that the match was to be a "square up" after one of the Irish players was suspended for kneeing. That's right. They were getting "square" with a player who wouldn't even be taking to the field.
The Irish coach has called for future series to be scrapped, calling the Australian players "thugs" in the process. Irish administrators have referred to "thuggery". About the only people who appear to think that there is no issue here are the Australians who do not seem to understand what the fuss is all about.
The odd thing is that Australian coach Kevin Sheedy appears to think that (a) the Irish were the aggressors in the first and second test match, and (b) this sort of "physicality" is actually part of the game.
Now, I'm not sure what planet Kevin Sheedy thinks that the rest of the world is these days, but he was certainly watching a different game to the rest of us.
The object of the game is to get the ball from one end of the ground to the other and score goals. Sheedy appears to think nothing of what seemed to be the unstated aim of the Australian players to knock as many Irishmen unconscious as they could.
To further hammer home the disconnect that appears to exist between the GAA and the AFL, we have representatives of the GAA, none more strident than Sean Boylan the coach who has said that he nearly didn't take to the field after half time, and that the series will not continue on his guard.
The GAA's president Nicky Brennan agrees and has called for the series to be axed.
On the other hand, the AFL's Mike Fitzpatrick seemed blissfully unaware that anything untoward had actually happened, although he admitted to being "uneasy" about the events that took place in the first quarter.
If uneasy was all he felt, queasy is how I feel.
4. Champions trophy presentation
The Australian cricket team have had this happening for some time.
Whether it's Glenn McGrath picking out his "bunny" for the series, Shane Warne doing his bit for the reputation of straight white males everywhere or whoever else getting sent home a bit of nocturnal silliness with alcohol.
The Australian cricket team have relished their "arrogant" reputation for some time. In fact, one (I forget who) seemed to think that this was a good thing: "It shows that they fear us."
Great. What it shows, dickhead, is that they don't think of you as a bunch of good blokes.
After winning the final, the trophy was presented to them by a local politician and senior national cricket administrator. OK.
What happened next was astoundingly stupid, even for this team of geniuses. As they shook hands with the VIP, one of them apparently said, "Hiya buddy!" before they physically shuffled him off the podium so they could showboat with the trophy in front of the camera.
The Indian media went berzerk. The Indian cricketers, even the softly spoken Sachin Tendulkar were amazingly critical, and the Australian players themselves didn't seem to know what they even did wrong.
In a sign that this kind of disrespect is not thought of terribly highly on the sub-continent, one of the locals painted their goat green and gold and wrote the name Damien Martyn on the side, after the cricketer who did the shoving of the official. Ricky Ponting, Australian captain is also said to have manhandled the official.
So what has caused this epidemic of poor sportsmanship?
It appears that you haven't made it in the world of Australian sport unless you are acting like the world's worst moron.
Is it insecurity? These guys have all left school and found that the nerds that they beat up at school are truly running the world.
Personally, I blame Lleyton Hewitt and Anthony Mundine. They were the first of this current wave, and they deserve to be carpeted for it. Mundine at leats gets away with it because boxers are at least, thank you Muhammed Ali, are supposed to act like complete tools.
Lleyton Hewitt, on the other hand, just don't get me started.
Listen. John McEnroe was a complete dill. He might have been a phenomenal tennis player, but he acted like a tosspot. And yeah we loved it, but we weren't looking at the tennis. We were looking at him acting the goat. And the crowd egged him on, too. People still wander up to him in the street and yell at him, "You cannot be serious!!"
And so it will be with this lot. And we won't remember them as the great sportsmen that they might be. We'll remember as this bunch of idiot frat boys, instead.