With heavy hearts and tears in our eyes, we all watched Eddie Betts, the best small forward in the competition, leave the game as a player. What struck me more was not how good a player he is but as a person. He is that rarity that has this underlying charisma that draws people to him without him ever being arrogant or disrespectful. He is well loved and respected because of this. He doesn’t go about believing the hype that is being piled upon his shoulders. He is humble, and his integrity is one that everyone should aspire to emulate. I believe that he will go on to become a great Australian not just because of his footy but because of what he will achieve after the game has ended for him. He will become a voice against racism that could change our culture for the betterment of our society, and for that, I am excited to see what he will do.
But this morning has got me down for reasons that have put our club front and center of not only the media but those on social media who pay lip service to causes they purport to stand for. I am saddened that our club is at a crossroads where some believe the spin they are told by the Board and do not see below the surface of a culture in our club that is toxic and detrimental to eventual success.
Let me be perfectly clear here. Whether David Teague continues or not is not the point. What is, is the sheer bombardment of hate and disrespect aimed at a person by those who should know better. I have saved social media messages and posts from those who say one thing and blatantly call out those who disagree with them, but then go ahead and bully, harass and put someone down. The continual posting of some of the most horrible posts I’ve seen from some has been an eye-opener. It has shown me who they are, really who they are, and I have lost respect for them for this.
This is the same with the Board at Carlton. It is not about what will happen; it is about how they have gone about it. How can any culture of any organization believe that this is the way to go? The way to handle any situation? I have no faith, respect, or belief in what this Board is doing and will do in the future. I cannot support a Board that sees treating a person the way they have as being anything but a good thing. No organization anywhere becomes a successful group unless the culture is one that Eddie Betts himself lives by – respect and integrity.
The Board at the Carlton FC has not done anything close to this. But what has made me sad is that no matter what the decision is and will be, we will not achieve the success that others believe we will by changing a coach. Because you have to answer the question – if this Board does this with David Teague, what’s to stop them from doing the same with any other coach? I don’t care who it is or who others believe will be stronger, better; they can’t succeed because the very culture of the club is far too toxic. If treating someone who is at the club in a way they have been treated this year will change how they treat another who steps in will ensure a change at the club, then they are wrong.
I am bloody angry at how the Carlton FC has handled this, and the sheer notion that some believe that everything will change once a new coach is appointed is astonishing. It is naïve to believe this and accept this. A fish rots from the head, the head at Carlton is the Board, and it is time they become accountable for what they have done this year and in the past. The majority of the Board has been a part of our toxic culture for the past ten years; what’s to say they are going to change or make things better when for some, they have not been a working part of the Board for the past year or so?
We, the members, have to decide what type of culture we want at the club and what our future will become. We have to use our rights as members to say – enough! The Board must be held accountable for what has transpired this year and how it has treated one of its own, irrespective of whether that person stays or not. Louis V Gerstner Jnr, who was a CEO of IBM stated that, ‘Until I came to IBM, I probably would have told you that culture was just one among several important elements in any organization’s makeup and success – along with vision, strategy, marketing, financials, and the like…I came to see, in my time at IBM, that culture isn’t just one aspect of the game, it is the game. In the end, an organization is nothing more than the collective capacity of its people to create value.’ We have none of this at Carlton, and it is the Board that must accept the responsibility that their actions and inactions have fostered this. Can they change? No. Because if they have not done so beforehand, why now? They are far too entrenched in their self-belief that they are above what is wrong at the club.
I am sad that this great club has sunk to this level, and those that hold power to shape our club has not done so in the past, present, nor will in the future. I fear unless a change, a big change is made from the head, Carlton will not achieve any semblance of success for quite some time. No organization can or will unless it starts from the top, the very top.
I will always be a Carlton member, and I want a club that has the philosophies that Eddie Betts lives – respect, humility and loyalty to those around him. Right now, the Carlton FC does not have that.