‘Michael Clarke is not a tosser’

By skepticlawyer

In November 2009, Paul Kent wrote this (among other nastiness) about Australian cricket captain Michael Clarke:

His problem is a little more delicate. Michael Clarke is a tosser. Or, to give him an out clause, he appears to be a tosser.

He might actually be an OK bloke, but how are we to ever know when all we see is the facade? On the evidence available it is hard to like Clarke. He has gone away from what we thought we knew – and liked – about him.

Most of the article appears to be irritation at the fact that Clarke wears fashionable clothes, can attract beautiful women, has nice manners, is well-spoken and reads GQ. When men are bitchy about other, more talented men it is depressingly obvious.

Yesterday, Michael Clarke scored 251 not out against India, an innings of rare skill and power in what — at least initially — had been desperate circumstances. At the post stumps press conference, this transpired:

With 251 not out next to his name, and a match-defining partnership of 288 alongside Ricky Ponting in his pocket, Michael Clarke was given a moment to savour at the press conference after a landmark day for his Australian team. Standing to one side in the room was a columnist who had written derisively of Clarke in the past. His criticism of Clarke peaked in late 2009 with the following line: “His problem is a little more delicate. Michael Clarke is a tosser. Or, to give him an out clause, he appears to be a tosser.”

When the juncture arrived for the author of that line to pose a question, he asked Clarke about what an innings like this would do for him in the “big picture”. A voracious reader of the press and now a columnist himself, Clarke knew whom he was speaking to. His response carried a pointed word.

“Hopefully, it helps me continue to earn respect,” Clarke said. “That’s all I can do, and most importantly that helps me put this team in a position to win another Test match. That’s our goal; that’s my goal – to help Australia win as many games as we can.

Clarke’s measured and thoughtful response goes, I submit, to character. He did not invite Paul Kent to take himself off to a secluded spot behind the pavilion and ‘toss himself’ or, even worse, ask him: ‘do you still think I’m a tosser?’

I seldom engage in admiration of sportspeople outside their sporting achievements, and think it most unfair when everyone from the Australian cricket captain to a 19 year old woman who just happens to have won an Olympic gold medal is then expected to be some sort of role model. Being very good at sport while maintaining the sort of normal, non-criminal behaviour expected from an average person of that age is enough. But that response of Clarke’s is impressive, and worth admiring.

I wonder whether many other people, in the same situation, could do likewise.

23 Comments

  1. Mel
    Posted January 5, 2012 at 6:30 am | Permalink

    “I seldom engage in admiration of sportspeople outside their sporting achievements, and think it most unfair when everyone from the Australian cricket captain to a 19 year old woman who just happens to have won an Olympic gold medal is then expected to be some sort of role model.”

    I disagree.

    Sportspeople are role models whether they like it or not. This is a sociological fact, pure and simple. Young men in particular pick up behavioural cues from sportspeople. As such, it makes sense that certain standards of behaviour both on and off the field are expected and enforced.

    The social order really is fragile, you know. Think about the Cronulla riots in Oz, or the far worse riots you had recently in the UK. Or drunken louts touching up girls without consent every Friday and Saturday night.

    If part of the price of maintaining that order is that elite sportspeople of bad character are excluded from the playing field, well, stiff bloody biscuit.

  2. Posted January 5, 2012 at 6:37 am | Permalink

    Oh, the criminals I have no truck with, as I mentioned in the piece, and have little or no sympathy when their clubs wheel out lame excuses for them. That said, I’m not sure that many people (sporting or otherwise) would be as dignified as Clarke was last night. Very impressive.

    I’m hoping he gets 300, but knowing my luck when it comes to cricketing bets, that won’t happen!

  3. Posted January 5, 2012 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    This is a sociological fact problem, pure and simple… As such, it makes sense that certain standards of behaviour both on and off the field are expected and enforced people be held responsible for their own actions, and we as a society should ease up on holding up sporting stars as automatic role models for our kids given they’re not particularly likely to be good ones.

  4. kvd
    Posted January 5, 2012 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    Clarke has done very well. Amazing what a little more maturity, and a little more responsibility can do for a young person. To make it a remarkable test I hope Sachin gets his 100 as well, and to hell with the win.

    Now if only Clarke’s girlfriend were not called Kylie…

  5. Patrick
    Posted January 5, 2012 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    I’m pretty sure we can afford Sachin to get the ton without jeopardising the win, the risk is him getting 300.

  6. Mel
    Posted January 5, 2012 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    [email protected]:

    “… and we as a society should ease up on holding up sporting stars as automatic role models … ”

    Kids chose their own role models, not “society”.

    “As such, it makes sense that … people be held responsible for their own actions”

    This already happens. I doubt the “Warney made me do it” defence has ever got a sexting teen off the hook 😉

  7. Posted January 5, 2012 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    I’m pretty sure we can afford Sachin to get the ton without jeopardising the win, the risk is him getting 300.

    Indeedy. If the SCG pitch is going to be a road, day 3 is the day for it.

  8. kvd
    Posted January 5, 2012 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    A Sachin 300? We should be so lucky, but one can always dream. Good thought Patrick.

  9. Patrick
    Posted January 5, 2012 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    Don’t worry SL we aren’t going to give them more than 30 minutes batting on day 3 (long enough to get Ghambir out just for shits and giggles).

    I would like to see Sachin have a real crack at it though.

  10. derrida derider
    Posted January 5, 2012 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    “Being very good at sport while maintaining the sort of normal, non-criminal behaviour expected from an average person of that age is enough …”

    Some criminal behaviour is in fact pretty normal among the average person at that age. How many here can honestly say they they never went to a party that got out of hand, never smoked dope or took any other illicit substances, never indulged in really, really stupid risk-taking behaviour on the public roads, etc? Any who can must have led a dull life.

  11. kvd
    Posted January 5, 2012 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    Well, they’ve well and truly passed the most number of irritating tv ads in a single batsman’s knock, so I reckon Aus should declare before tea.

    Other things: I wish Harsha Bhogle was part of the tv commentary – think he’s very good and very fair. Secondly what a fine thing this pink (by now) tradition is; am all in favour of anything to do with cancer support services.

    [email protected] would you expect an honest answer to such a leading question?

  12. Posted January 5, 2012 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    Well, they’ve declared before tea, 468 ahead.

    Sporting and unselfish, yes?

    [email protected]: I think it’s the violence against women and serious public order offences that have become unacceptable now, which is why attempts to excuse them are seen (not just by me) as pretty lame-oh. If the US were able to countenance a slightly less war-on-drugs-ish president, the whole drugs thing may well fall by the wayside, the way it has in much of Europe.

    [I’m watching it on Indian television, btw, so am getting the all singing-all dancing Bollywood style ads, with a bit of canny time delay behaviour on the side so they can squeeze in the entire advert.]

  13. kvd
    Posted January 5, 2012 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    “Sporting and unselfish, yes?”

    Very yes. Sehwag, Dravid, Sachin T and VVS; My bet is a draw, after a fine batting exhibition by some very fine players. And I’ll let the comment stand even after a brilliant catch took Sehwag.

  14. Patrick
    Posted January 5, 2012 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    I’ll go all-out and say that despite the apparently astro-turf pitch and the stunning averages (check out these guys’ SGC averages!!) India will lack the mental toughness to actually stay in until the fifth day.

  15. kvd
    Posted January 5, 2012 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    SL, just a point of interest: is the Indian commentary fair? i.e. acknowledging a good batting display? And what do they say about Patrick’s very valid point?

  16. Mel
    Posted January 5, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    SL:

    ” I think it’s the violence against women and serious public order offences that have become unacceptable now, which is why attempts to excuse them are seen (not just by me) as pretty lame-oh.”

    That’s right. It’s not just the illegal stuff that is disgusting and unacceptable but also the disrespectful behaviour towards women. No, it really isn’t OK to tell a girl who asks for your autograph to buzz off ‘cos she’s a fat ugly mole. Lift your game, boys.

  17. Posted January 5, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    It depends. Sourav Ganguly has impressed me as a commentator — he speaks well and is very well informed. They also have the occasional Australian guest commentator – at the moment mainly Tom Moody – who is less able, if only because he is less educated.

    However they also have bad commentators – Ravi Shastri is probably a nice chap in person, but it is plain that his first language isn’t English, and so he resorts constantly to a stock of tired cliches, much like Bill Lawry (sometimes he even repeats one of Bill’s, eg ‘it’s all happening’).

    They just had a brief session with Julia Gillard in the commentary box with Ganguly, which worked well, in part because neither of them made any attempt to speak ‘to the people’ or appear democratic or popular. The willingness to use big words is interesting – ‘coruscating innings’ from Ganguly to describe Clarke’s knock, for example, to which Gillard responded appropriately.

    Some of them I can’t name, alas, and they also have a woman commentator, who I also can’t name – she is part of their regular team. She is one of the better ones, like Ganguly, very literate and well spoken.

  18. kvd
    Posted January 5, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    Well at stumps Tendulkar has faced maybe 432,000 balls in two sessions and scored 8. I suspect (and hope) tomorrow is going to be a very good day for lovers of cricket.

  19. Posted January 5, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    An ex tosser come good.

    It is the psycho looney air punching – vein popping grimacing of certain fast bowlers which bring the game into contempt, no need for it, really uncool.

  20. Posted January 6, 2012 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    “I wonder whether many other people, in the same situation, could do likewise.”

    Ay. Probably not me. Dish best served cold etc. But I’d like to think I’d find the character to resist the urge. He did well on both counts.

  21. kvd
    Posted January 6, 2012 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    My bad. Important correction: her name is actually Kyly. A true daughter of the txt generation. Whoever said we lived in a classless society?

    …was possibly correct 😉

  22. ROBBY
    Posted June 1, 2015 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    MICHAEL CLARKE IS MOST DEFINITELY NOT A TOSSER!!!
    HE IS A GREAT ROLE MODEL FOR CRICKET AND HE HAS BEEN A BRILLIANT CAPTAIN FOR OUR TEAM…
    PERSONALLY I THINK THAT PAUL KENT IS NOT A VERY NICE PERSON AT ALL!!

One Trackback

  1. […] ‘Michael Clarke is not a tosser’ […]

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

*
*