WOW, what a fight. Listeners to The Run Home show on Melbourne Sports radio station SEN yesterday afternoon were treated to one of radio's great spats.
In the red corner, Rebecca Wilson, journalist from Sydney’s Daily Telegraph. In what you might call the "boo corner", former AFL player Dermott Brereton.
It was just Wilson at first, doing her regular Sydney sports rundown, which obviously included commentary on the Adam Goodes booing saga. And boy, did she tee off with admirable passion.
“I’m incredibly disappointed where this has got to the point now where this is out of control,” Wilson said.
“It’s 17 out of 18 clubs that are now booing, and not just one or two thousand but basically a majority of the crowd is booing one player.
“To me it’s absolutely disgraceful. I’m embarrassed to be Australian. It makes me want to cry to be honest.
“And the fact that Dermott Brereton can come out today and says 'I actively encourage it’ [the booing], have a look at what he’s done.”
By this time, somebody had no doubt texted Dermie to turn the radio on. Here’s what he would have heard if he did.
“We’ve got to look ourselves in the mirror here guys. We’ve got to face our demons as Australians. We are racist,” Wilson said.
“And this is not about a niggle. It’s not about a player who dived. This is about a man who put his Aboriginality before anything else. Now, it’s all fine and dandy when an Aboriginal player scores goals and he’s terrific and he’s a great athlete. But the moment that he makes a statement on behalf of his race, the entire country starts to boo.
“And these people that you watch booing are middle class Australians, and they think they are better than black people and there’s no way of getting around it, and [AFL CEO] Gillon McLachlan’s fallen short of saying it’s racist, but I’ve never been involved in anything as racist as this in sport in Australia in the time I’ve been reporting it.”
This was strong stuff. This was as strong as anything said in defence of Adam Goodes all week — or perhaps ever. But Wilson wasn’t finished.
Rebecca Wilson and Dermott Brereton debate the Adam Goodes situation http://t.co/MH5DVGPKjO @TheRunHome @SENfooty pic.twitter.com/TPnmVrITpU
— SEN 1116 (@SENNews) July 28, 2015
“Forget that Adam Goodes is a niggly player. Does anyone boo [Geelong player] Stevie J [Johnson] every time he runs onto the field cos he’s a niggle? No, absolutely not.
“I’m sorry to be on my horse but it absolutely devastates me ... and here’s a guy who basically is one of the nicest people you will ever meet, a true gentleman, a person who spends more time with kids in AFL and has done more for the development of the sport in Sydney — the country’s biggest city — than any single player.
“And this is how we treat him and how we vilify him. This is why I can’t come to grips with it.”
Dermie must have been good and flustered by this stage. At 11 minutes and 45 seconds into the 15 minute and 27 second segment, he was on air having his say. The hosts said he’d called in to “defend himself”.
Well you know what they say. Attack is the best method of defence.
“Hey Rebecca, that is the most moronic statement to paraphrase me and say that I have actively encouraged people to act in this behaviour,” Brereton thundered.
“That is doing your job without reading any research whatsoever. I am livid, livid, livid that you would say that and go ahead with that and just shoot from the hip. For a journalist that is complete and utter stupidity.”
Wilson said at this point that she’d look the story up again to check it.
“Please do,” Brereton blustered. “And find the place where I say I actively encourage it. That is moronic. And to tip me in Rebecca is the poorest piece of journalism I have ever heard you commit to.”
“Dermott,” Wilson countered. “Before you say that, you have said quite clearly in that piece this morning that you think Adam Goodes brought in upon himself.”
“Wrong and wrong! If you read the article Rebecca, I said maybe Adam Goodes should have a look within at some of the actions he has done that has incited this type of reaction.
“If you have tried to tip me in the deep end and made me out to be racist, I tell you what, you will have legal papers on your desk by midday tomorrow.”
Last night Brereton confirmed to the Herald Sun’s Rita Panahi that he was handing a transcript of the interview to his legal representatives and was considering his options.
The fight continued to escalate, with more yelling and insults galore. You can listen to it through the link below. It’s as entertaining as it is disturbing.
LISTEN | If you missed it, things got fiery between Rebecca Wilson and Dermott Brereton on the Goodes issue https://t.co/6USC1sgqJ4
— The Run Home (@TheRunHome) July 28, 2015
Oh, and for the record, here’s what Brereton actually said:
“People will boo, they will cheer, they will hiss, sometimes they will swear — it’s the behaviour of the player that can stimulate those responses.
“Adam Goodes would do well to look at what he’s done bad or good or indifferent and work out what he can do to change that.’’