Passion is a powerful emotion, but it does not give you the right to slander a mans reputation.
Earlier this week Paul Kent made some comments that I didn’t agree with at all. I’m going to post exactly what he said so there can be no confusion.
“I tell you, the NRL needs to go away and look at their scheduling again, because what did we do?”
“We had a poor start to the year with poor crowds. We finally get going with a terrific Easter weekend that rolled straight into a great Anzac weekend. Then what do we do?”
“We put a halt on things for rep weekend.”
“I couldn’t care two hoots about Samoa and Fiji. Who wants to really sit down and watch that game?”
Now I completely disagreed with Kent. My reaction was to write about the importance of Samoa taking on Fiji. I look at these things from the point of view of someone that loves the game and wants to see it grow.
Paul Kent has a different point of view and that is fine. As a journalist it is not Paul Kent’s job to promote or advertise the game. Kent had been asked to be a guest on Fox Sports News to give his personal opinion on the representative weekend. He gave his opinion. You don’t have to agree with it, but he is allowed his opinion.
Since Kent made these comments people have attacked him. Paul Kent doesn’t need me to defend him in that regard. Kent knows how the game works, he knows that no matter what opinion you put out there you will get attacked for it.
I tend to enjoy listening to what Paul Kent has to say for no other reason that he gives you his honest opinion. It’s not always popular, many times I don’t agree with him, but I’d rather hear someone honest opinion than listen from someone who reads public opinion and changes what they say accordingly to earn points with the public.
I know what it is like to have people attack you for an opinion. I know how the game works. I often joke with those close to me that I could write an article about how water is wet and the sky is blue and I’d have some people attack me for it. When you put opinions out there you just have to accept that not everyone is going to agree with you.
People have to be careful about how they react though…
When I don’t agree with something I see happen in the game I usually write about about. I find that the best way to break down something you don’t agree with is to take a reasoned, considered approach. Yes, sometimes I have a bit of fun with it, but I’ll back that up with a reasoned argument as well.
If I decide to call someone an idiot, I’ll break down every single reason why I believe they are an idiot!
To come out and call Paul Kent a racist, when he said nothing at all that could even slightly resemble racism, just because you don’t agree with his opinion is wrong. You can’t do it.
Racism is such a serious issue in society. When someone is being racist, they need to be called out on it. Fighting against racism within Rugby League is something I have done many times before.
The problem is, by claiming someone is being racist when they are not, by using such a loaded term when it is not needed, you devalue the fight against real racism.
Believe me, had Paul Kent said something that was even remotely racist, I’d have been all over it!
It is really unfortunate the way some people have reacted. What could have been a positive move by the Rugby League community to show they do care about games between developing nations has turned into a character assassination.
I understand that a lot of people don’t like Paul Kent. I understand that he says things that rub people the wrong way. Hell, that is part of why he has been so successful over his career! The best way to show you don’t agree with him though isn’t just to blindly claim he was being racist when he wasn’t, the best way is to break down his arguments with facts. The best way is to get out and attend these games.
I’ve always wanted readers of my web site to think a little more deeply about the game. I want people to consider what is happening in Rugby League, what their own opinions are, and open themselves up to the opinions of others.
Rugby League needs to take the criticism of people like Paul Kent on board. Paul Kent is a Rugby League supporter, if he doesn’t care about these games, what do you think people that aren’t Rugby League supporters think about them?
Sometimes the criticism you don’t want to hear is the criticism you need to hear. Sometimes the opinions you could easily write off as an hysterical over reaction do have a grain of truth to them.
If Rugby League can’t sell certain contests to it’s own supporters it needs to ask why. Rugby League administrators won’t make changes to the way they run the game unless they are called out publicly. That is why we do need some of the criticism the game gets.
Paul Kent is entitled to his opinion. You are entitled to yours. I am entitled to mine. Let’s turn the Rugby League supporter base into a smart one though. If the game needs defended, let’s put toward an intelligent counter argument rather than making wild accusations about people.
What Paul Kent said wasn’t racist at all. I don’t agree with what he did say however and I wrote an article stating why.
I open my web site up as a platform to anyone that can make a well reasoned argument to defend the games position. Let’s cut the false claims about racism though, all that does is take focus off the game itself.