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Language barrier

I’m upset that my first post on here is a bit of a whinge but I’m sick of going along to watch the ASB Premiership and hearing nothing but swearing from the players.  Swearing at officials, at the opposition, at their own team and on odd occasion at the fans on the side lines.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am no angel.  I swear a lot – mostly unnecessarily – but I just don’t see the need for excessive foul language on a sporting field.

Screaming obscenities at the referee or assistant referee is probably what angers me most.  It’s like watching toddlers throwing tantrums albeit with slightly broader vocabularies.  Things don’t always go your way.  I get that it’s frustrating but there’s no need to carry on like the biggest injustice in the world just occurred.  The worst part about this situation is that I am yet to see a referee take action against a player who has just called him every expletive under the sun.  If I went to work every day and my customers spoke to me the way that these players speak to the referees, I’d be more than a bit mad.  I’d probably do one of three things – start yelling back at them, go home and cry, or quit my job.  Maybe that’s just me, I don’t know.  What I do know is that if any of the referees decided to up and leave because they’d had enough abuse, I’d be totally supportive.  Then what would happen?  Sure they could get new referees.  But at what standard?  Would the quality of refereeing diminish thus causing more player frustration and thus more swearing?  Seems like a vicious cycle.

Officials – More cards please.

Cursing the opposition is another thing.  I guess you don’t hear as much of it as it’s usually done under the breath or in the player’s face after a dodgy tackle but does that make it okay?  I think not!

Cussing their own team mates I must admit is mildly amusing.  It signals an implosion and immense frustration in the game which I guess I can kind of understand but it does absolutely nothing for team morale or performance.  If my netball teammates were yelling curse words at me because I wasn’t quite doing as good a job as they wanted, it would definitely not encourage me to play harder.  I even heard a player the other day yell at his bench to “pass me a f**ken drink”.  It was unnecessary and, if anything, displayed the arrogance of this particular individual.  There’s no need for it.

I guess the reason I’m frustrated by it is because it does nothing for the look of the game.  Especially at a time when more is being done to promote the domestic competition.  Games are televised now and when matches are played in small stadiums (can you even call them that?) and with few fans in the crowd you can hear everything that’s being said on the pitch.  Everything.  There are probably (hopefully) children watching these games either on TV or pitch side and the players are setting no form of example with regards to attitude.  Even if there aren’t children, and it’s an adult audience it’s still not okay.  I, for one, am over it.

End rant.

Categories: NZ Men's National League


12 replies

  1. It’s also doing a disservice to football as parents will not take their budding footballer kids to these games because of the excessive foul language. If referees will not or cannot control the proliferation of foul language maybe it will require police to go onto a pitch and arrest a player for uttering obscenties in a public place.

  2. I can recall a few seasons ago when the referees took a strong stand on foul and abusive language and the game was better for it. It seems that the “powers that be” see no problem in the use of such language – perhaps they practice it themselves and are blind to the effect it is having on the game. I also get offended when the excuse “There were no women or children around” is used. It assumes that all males should turn a deaf ear!

  3. The use of bad language is reflective of the character of the user. It is disturbing to me that they will also use that language in other areas of their lives – Within their families? At work? In their social encounters?

  4. another problem is the unevenness of application of the laws – crack down at AFF Div 8 level but let someone like Chad Coombes or Ryan Tinsley call you every name under the sun at a game with a much larger public interest and you have how stupid this has become.

  5. What pisses me off, that it’s only accepted in the elite grades. Anything below Cap Prem and you either get carded or absolutely blasted by a ref for excessive swearing.

    I was horrified at some of the language coming out of the Weenix team when they played at the Hutt Rec, so much so that I sent a message to the club informing them of this and asked them the question that if they are training these young men to be professional football players, then shouldn’t they be also be teaching them about the way they condone themselves on and off the field? Also being that they were being watched by a lot of young kids who are just getting a bad example set for them.

  6. This abusive language issue has been around for a long time…

    Here is a condensed version of my column on foul language that first appeared in the Waikato United v Waitakere City, April 2, 1995 programme (and is included in The Waikato Chronicles, an anthology of Waikato Football programme columns)….


    Nobody will ever accuse me of being president of the Mt Maunganui Fan Club, but I did feel just a wee bit sorry for Grant Turner’s team when we beat them 7-0 a fortnight ago. You see, I though David Anderson deserved the blue card rather than the red card.

    Yer what? The blue card was a brief Brazilian invention, introduced for their national league. Show a player the blue card and he is sent off, but a replacement is allowed. Sort of like the treatment a front row thug gets in rugby.

    The advantages are a player still suffers the humiliation of being tossed from the match, but the contest is not completely ruined for spectators who have paid good money to see the like of Mount get thrashed fair and square, 11 v 11.

    It would be perfect for foul language, insult-the-ref, give-the-crowd-the-fingers type offences.

    The only reason I can imagine Fifa got the hump with the blue card in Brazil and pulled the plug on it is because they didn’t think of it first. But that in itself would be amazing, considering Fifa rule changes are proposed with the same frequency with which Darren Fellowes skips training.

    Talking of foul language, here is a test. I call it the Fook test. Try a week of make-believe red-carding everyone at home, work, the pub, who swears/abuses in the course of conversation. The horrible truth is we all swear, curse, or abuse people we shouldn’t. For instance, ‘Er Indoors called me blind when I couldn’t find the salt. Red card.

    There is a viral quality to swearing and verbal abuse which gives it particular penetration and stability in a football environment. Outbursts of swearing or abuse are similar to self-replicating viruses. Under football rules small words and phrases can enslave and even paralyse larger supposedly self-sufficient “host objects’ (players and refs) through their viral powers.

    Because they are “not allowed’ (unhealthy), swear words develop effective qualities of pseudo-ruthlessness which increase their survival value. And when the bad-language virus commandeers a host cell like Grant Turner, it assumes great infective power. Propagation is assisted by means of imitation, words leaping from mind to mind and mouth to mouth, unable to be totally wiped out by the red-card medicine simply because they flourish so readily in the primordal soup of human culture.

    Like any decent virus, a certain immunity soon builds up. Which is why we have such a rich and colourful history of foul language send-offs in our culture, or soup if you like… The Waikato schoolboy sent off for saying “damn”… Keith Nelson marched in his first league match for Hamilton… the Roger Wilkinson and Doug Moore double-act at Muir Park, the send-off headmaster at St Paul’s… the fan dismissals at Ngaruawahia and Melville last year.

    The foul language rule (suspended, $50 fine) needs to be changed, but probably never will. If it was downgraded to just a cautionable – or even a blue card – offence the virus would be much more treatable. However the invading potential will remain as long as the survival value of foul language is so high in every other aspect of our life.

    (THE WAIKATO CHRONICLES can be purchased via home page)

  7. About time someone raised this – it seems at NRFL level it is pinged more, still not enough, but yes it is disgusting watching from the sidelines when every word starts with an “F” !

    NZ Football Revolution 2016 continues – first thing to fix on a long list 🙂

    1. i disagree – it’s pinged more at lower levels when there is generally no public interest (two people and a dog watching) when the same thing is let go at NRFL level, it seems the higher level you go the more they turn a blind eye (generally speaking)

  8. The comment “Everyone swears!” is used to justify foul language by foul language users. However the statement itself is inaccurate (The large crowd of people I mix with certainly do not use foul or offensive language, which puts a lie to the original statement that everyone swears!).

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