“Behavioural awareness officers”

I spent the weekend in Canberra, visiting my money, and so missed the appearance of “behavioural awareness officers” at the football.

As an Essendon member I go to a lot of games and see crowd behaviour on a regular basis. Referring to an umpire as a “bald-headed flog” is at the lower end of insults I have heard. Most insults thrown at the umpires usually involve the words “blind” and the dreaded c-word that I dislike being used as an insult.  Some insults are genuinely funny and sometimes the target of the insult has it coming.

Normally, however, the crowds are good natured and everyone has a good time. I can’t say I’ve ever witnessed really poor behaviour. In the past couple of years or so there have been media reports of fights breaking out and I think everyone agrees that is unfortunate and not something people want to see.

Yet the AFL apparently are cracking down on poor behaviour at the football.

Some members of the security staff, who wore bibs identifying them as “Behavioural Awareness” officers, patrolled the aisles and appeared to issue several verbal warnings to fans who were deemed to be barracking in an ­inappropriate fashion.

The weekend’s activities proved a flashpoint in a season where there have been claims of cheer squads being silenced and undercover operatives being deploye­d to monitor behaviour, with fans clearly agitated by the manner they are being treated.

Treating your paying customers poorly is never a good long-term strategy.

The challenge, however, is this: who are the paying customers?

  • The people who actually join clubs and/or the AFL?
  • The people who turn up to matches on the weekend?
  • The people who consume the games via media?

If the AFL is making its money from the media rights it might not matter how poorly they treat the people who actually attend the games.

I expect we’ll see more of this over time – a growing separation between the fans and the paying customers will see the fans being treated poorly.

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45 Responses to “Behavioural awareness officers”

  1. Entropy

    The customer is the one with the broadcast rights.

  2. stackja

    No fans at the game. Having empty stands might solve the behavior ‘problem’.

  3. stackja

    Marvel Stadium boss admits it went too far with security

    Marvel Stadium chief Michael Green has admitted it may have unwittingly intimidated fans with overzealous security staff, while footy greats called on the AFL to ease up on supporters.
    PETER ROLFE, sports affairs reporter, Herald Sun
    Subscriber only

    June 16, 2019 8:21pm

    Footy greats have called on the AFL to ease off fans as tensions rise over increased spectator surveillance and security in the stands.

    Hawthorn legend Dermott ­Brereton described the use of the ­“Behavioural Security Officers” at Marvel Stadium on Saturday night as “the most ridiculous principle the AFL has instituted in years’’.

    “It really angered me to see that,’’ he said. “How ridiculous to infringe on people’s basic human rights to go along and enjoy their lifestyle, the way they have for over 100 years.’’ The AFL did not respond to questions about crowd behaviour.

    Former North Melbourne star Sam Kekovich said fans deserved better.

    “It’s the people’s game and they’ve been disenfranchised, they’ve almost become a political football,’’ he said.

    “I don’t know what the AFL’s ­agenda is, but they’ve basically ­become social reformers and they ­almost want to be a political party in their own right.’’

    Hawthorn president Jeff Kennett said the AFL “runs the risk of destroying a lifetime and history of what football means to the community’’.

    “If the AFL are now trying to control the enjoyment that people get from the game, if the AFL want to try to control booing or standing up or yelling out loudly, they will very quickly continue to destroy the game as we have known it,’’ he said.

  4. iamok

    Though, I think, most members are members in the sense of being members of a company limited by guarantee, they are not members in the sense of having any say whatsoever. Board are stacked, private networks are mined and fans are gouged. It’s a huge money making ponzi reliant on media rights that pander to those who can afford footy as an event, not necessarily those who love footy as a game. It’s also increasingly a vehicle for social engineering of the sookiest kind. If I did not follow the Geelong Cats I’d be about done by now.

  5. MPH

    The advertisers / sponsors are the customers, sport is just a marketing delivery vector. That’s why Israel Folau got in so much trouble.

  6. Tim Neilson

    If the AFL is making its money from the media rights it might not matter how poorly they treat the people who actually attend the games.

    I expect we’ll see more of this over time – a growing separation between the fans and the paying customers will see the fans being treated poorly.

    The AFL has long treated fans with contempt.

    But that may come back to bite them.

    Nick Hornby addressed the importance of crowds in discussing English soccer in “Fever Pitch”. He pointed out that the crowds are part of the spectacle for which corporate boxholders pay big money, and that driving away the fans from the game would devalue the event.

    The same is true to an extent even on television. Somehow seeing someone kick a goal and watching the ball disappear into a vast mass of fans is more exciting than watching the ball ricochet down rows of empty seats.

    It might be more efficient to play games in empty arenas but it probably wouldn’t work as a money making venture.

  7. Roger

    Big sport administrators are now simply an extension of corporate Australia which has long treated its customers with contempt.

    Fans should respond by investing their time & interest in local, non-professional sports.

  8. duncanm

    The challenge, however, is this: who are the paying customers?

    The people who actually join clubs and/or the AFL?
    The people who turn up to matches on the weekend?
    The people who consume the games via media?

    This is similar to the Olympic sports in Australia which continue to piss all over their own members; the majority of their revenue comes from government taxpayer funding.

  9. duncanm

    Roger
    #3044443, posted on June 17, 2019 at 10:05 am

    Fans should respond by investing their time & interest in local, non-professional sports.

    Roger – the problem is these are often captured by their respective national and international bodies, who also have their own agenda and priorities (unaligned with those of the grass-roots).

  10. JohnJJJ

    Old hat – try these guys. They are experts: Committee for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice.
    https://youtu.be/c2vbs9ZppP4
    [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c2vbs9ZppP4&w=560&h=315%5D

  11. PG12

    I think the AFL is on a winner.

    Tick off the crowds so they don’t attend. This removes the need for those pesky stadiums as all you will need is a paddock with a few Camera platforms.

    It also solves the problem of how many toilets to have for which gender and who can use which…
    No more booing, ape comments, disparaging folk who are folically challenged.

    To expedite this the AFL should outsource the security to anti-fa as they have a proven record of addressing inappropriate behaviour.

    A win all round.

    (Sod Poes Law)

  12. Roger

    Roger – the problem is these are often captured by their respective national and international bodies, who also have their own agenda and priorities (unaligned with those of the grass-roots).

    Duncan,

    Then fans should push back and reclaim their game – more chance of doing that at the local level – or, failing that, organise their own independent competitions; the administrators don’t own the games of Australian rules, rugby league or rugby union, they can only exercise control over their corporatised iterations of them. It used to be the case that churches ran their own football leagues, especially in country areas where a lot of the real talent was to be found. One can easily imagine a similar independent Polynesian rugby union competition running in Sydney and Brisbane.

  13. Pedro the Ignorant

    TV and corporates are the key money makers for the AFL.

    Gillon McPonyBoy couldn’t give rat’s ring about the plebs in the cheap seats.

    CGI (computer generated image) crowds will give all the light and sound needed for the millions who watch the game on TV.

    The future is here.

  14. John A

    And where were Dermot and Sam when that poor 13yo was being grilled?

  15. Some History

    “Behavioural Awareness Officers” … at the football! Ohh. That doesn’t sound good.
    The next step is “Behavioural Modification Officers”.

    The Boos Bus:
    https://imgur.com/ffftoj8

  16. Tim Neilson

    CGI (computer generated image) crowds will give all the light and sound needed for the millions who watch the game on TV.

    Hmm, I didn’t think of that. Good point.

    Hey, maybe they can have CGI generated players as well. That would eliminate all the problems with ‘alcohol fuelled incidents’ et cetera off-field.

  17. duncanm

    Roger
    #3044481, posted on June 17, 2019 at 10:47 am
    Roger – the problem is these are often captured by their respective national and international bodies, who also have their own agenda and priorities (unaligned with those of the grass-roots).

    Duncan,

    Then fans should push back and reclaim their game – more chance of doing that at the local level – or, failing that, organise their own independent competitions; the administrators don’t own the games of Australian rules, rugby league or rugby union, they can only exercise control over their corporatised iterations of them. It used to be the case that churches ran their own football leagues, especially in country areas where a lot of the real talent was to be found. One can easily imagine a similar independent Polynesian rugby union competition running in Sydney and Brisbane.

    Roger,

    I’m not sure about the footy codes, but some sport’s rules are owned by international bodies, and they explicitly forbid their use by non-affiliated groups. This is then intertwined with local regulatory authorities , who control the access to fields of play (grounds, ranges, water bodies, etc), and insurance bodies, both of whom require that the sport be conducted according to the rules.

    This closes the regulatory noose around the local club and effectively bars them from running any event without paying up through the sporting hierarchy.

    A superficial scan of the Rugby regulations suggests the same applies there.

  18. duncanm

    oh.. and sports will explicitly bar athletes who compete outside the bodies’ jurisdiction. Very anti-competitive behaviour, but apparently legal.

  19. Lee

    More reason to loathe the AFL hierarchy since Demetriou took over.

  20. Rex Mango

    The only reason the AFL can sell tele rights is the fans at the game. Mess with them at your peril. Football twenty, or thirty years ago, before the Thought Police era was far more fun to attend than today.

  21. Turtle of WA

    If footy fans went on strike for a year the AFL would be doomed.

  22. Nick

    The most galling aspect is that it’s the lowest hanging fruit that is the target.

  23. Muddy

    Put the players in the stands. Herd the crowd onto the ground, and give them a limited number of weapons. Introduce wild animals for variety. (No nudity though). Slap another billion on the broadcast rights. Never been done before I reckon.

  24. a happy little debunker

    Without the people who turn up to matches on the weekend then the people who consume the games via media just do not get the same sense of excitement.

    Just look at how we consume the test match cricket media vs 20 tippity run.

    Particularly – compare how we were once glued to Test matches before the advent of the 50 over game.

  25. feelthebern

    numbers wants alcohol banned at all sporting events.
    Apart from those approved by his plenary council.

  26. Most insults thrown at the umpires usually involve the words “blind” and the dreaded c-word that I dislike being used as an insult.

    I have only ever used the “dreaded c-word” with one person.
    It was invariably prefixed with something like “You disobedient little . . .”
    Followed by “you need a good spanking”

    For some reason it only made Marilyn giggle.

  27. Fred

    How long before Daniel Andrews has Behavioral Awareness Officers patrolling the streets.

  28. Ruthm

    I would hope that this is confined to Victoria but I volunteer with a local suburban footy club and, in that capacity, last week I took a phone call from some southern carpetbagger planning on bringing joy to Qld by offering behaviour training for any of our players who needed re-education. Four months of one week per month, four days in that week, training. His opening gambit was to claim that his organization had been working with the AFL on the Goodes documentary. When I pointed out that anyone who claimed Goodes was booed because he was part Aboriginal knew nothing about football, he said he thought the AFL had felt the documentary would have been differently received to the way it was being received.

  29. I mentioned to my wife that soon the AFL will enforce the use of jazz hands only at matches.

    In fact the supporters should make a protest by being absolutely silent during a match and see how well that goes over with the broadcasters.

  30. Shane

    Photos of the awareness policing officers that are in the Heraldsun have more than a slightly sharia flavour.

  31. Leo G

    I think the AFL is on a winner.
    Tick off the crowds so they don’t attend. This removes the need for those pesky stadiums as all you will need is a paddock with a few Camera platforms.

    There’s just so much you can’t do with a live audience.

  32. jupes

    If the AFL is so worried about crowd safety, why then do they have prayer rooms at every ground in order to entice the more excitable practitioners of a certain religion?

  33. Cynthia Wallwork

    I’m up to pussy’s bow with all this nonsense. There is a great divide between Aussie Rules and ballet. Ballet is where you lose yourself in beauty. Footy is where you let your hair down (oops, unless you’re a bald headed flog), let out all the pent up frustration on whoever you feel is deserving, there is nothing like it, it’s like going to confession. Damned if I will be told how I can act or what can come out of my mouth. So, Mr McLachlan, Mr S. Hocking & your honchos, I will not acquiesce to your politicly correct drivel. I will barrack and demonstrate my desire to see my team WIN each and every match to the best of my ability.

  34. Speedbox

    When I first read the post, I thought the Doomlord was taking the piss. That “Behavioural Awareness Officers” was a euphemism for something else. But no, apparently this is a real thing.

    My mind is swimming – I oscillate between being appalled and laughing out loud. The one overriding thought is that it confirms my contempt for the AFL and the social warriors who infest our lives with their self-righteous drivel.

    Once upon a time we would say ‘poor fella my country’, now: too stupid to survive.

  35. Frank Walker from National Tiles

    There is a great divide between Aussie Rules and ballet. Ballet is where you lose yourself in beauty.

    Well played sports are as good as great art.

  36. Percy Popinjay

    Unfortunately, people can still denounce ALPFL umpires as bald headed flogs while watching the game in their living room.

  37. Entropy

    JohnJJJ
    #3044464, posted on June 17, 2019 at 10:31 am
    Old hat – try these guys. They are experts: Committee for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice.
    https://youtu.be/c2vbs9ZppP4
    [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c2vbs9ZppP4&w=560&h=315%5D

    I was thinking zampolits rather than religious police, but yeah, that works too.

  38. Entropy

    Percy Popinjay
    #3044834, posted on June 17, 2019 at 4:56 pm
    Unfortunately, people can still denounce ALPFL umpires as bald headed flogs while watching the game in their living room

    Do you have a google or amazon smart speaker in Qld your house, or is your TV Alexa or google voice enabled?

    Expect a call from the Triggster or her acolytes.

  39. Dr Fred Lenin

    Bit like the old English tv show”comrade Dad “ where hey put the teapot cosy over the phone to stop “THEM,” listening to conversation ,you only got a phone if you were suspected of anti socialism ,a crime punishable by vanishing from society,dont tell the ALPFL comrades .

  40. Percy Popinjay

    the teapot cosy

    Since superseded by tinfoil hats.

  41. Percy Popinjay

    Expect a call from the Triggster or her acolytes.

    I don’t follow the ALPFL. Apeman Goodes put a stop to that.

  42. JohnJJJ

    I was thinking zampolits rather than religious police,
    Thanks I didn’t know about them.
    The Mutaween ( PV squared) have the advantage that once Victoria converts there is is not need to change. The BAO just expand their role to the general public.
    Over the next 10 years the Vic feminists and academics will move to Islam. So it’s a bull future, if you can buy shares.

  43. JohnJJJ

    I was thinking zampolits rather than religious police,
    Thanks I didn’t know about them.
    The Mutaween ( PV squared) have the advantage that once Victoria converts there is is not need to change. The BAO just expand their role to the general public.
    Over the next 10 years the Vic fems and academics will move to Izlam. So it’s a bull future, if you can buy shares

  44. Ainsley Hayes

    ‘visiting my money’

    Love it.

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