This week’s game is the AFLW Carlton Respects match against Adelaide. The club will be doing a Walk for Respect and Equality before the game.
I applaud the club for this initiative, which is a vital message across the board in every facet of the game and our society as a whole. But the message of respect and equality has to be voiced by those who promote this and are seen to be doing so in every aspect of their being.
In the news this week, ex-Carlton AFLW player Tayla Harris and other AFL and AFLW players have stated the very toxic nature that is permeating social media. How the effect this has on the player mentally and how this affects their very being and their game. This can also translate to those players, coaches and others who in the past may have left to another club or just left the game altogether because the very toxicity of social media has left them broken, shattered and depressed.
I don’t blame them. But what should the Respect and Equality campaign really promote if it doesn’t promote this concept in every facet of the game and society, including social media? And should not the faces that are virulent on social media also promote this in its entirety and not just ones that suit them?
Respect means that no matter what, each person should be respected no matter who they are, even if you disagree with them. This is, of course, not relevant to those who use violence or aggression of any kind towards anyone.
There are many times that I might disagree with someone, but I will still respect them even if I think they are wrong. If they disagree with valid reasons that I may not agree with, I will respect their viewpoint. For is this not the pure underlying definition of respect? Is not respect one that must be encompassing everyone, male or female or gender fluid? Should the voice of the club’s respect and equality be stated by those that actually action those words and not just because it gets them in the spotlight? Should not respect and equality be one that no matter if someone disagrees, you can still respect their right to disagree? Should not respect be one that is not conditional based upon whether you agree with some or not?
These questions should be the underlying basis of what the respect and equality round must stand for and not just lip service. It should not be promoted by those who do not uphold this very concept of respect and equality; otherwise, the club is looking very hypocritical.
I have the utmost respect for those who rise from adversity and do so with integrity, humility, and respect, and I treat everyone equally. I have no respect for those who use social media to promote toxicity and believe that their words won’t hurt, or is that their aim? How can those people encourage the club’s message when they are not respectful at all?
I love the message of the Respect and Equality round and what it stands for, but it must stand for more than just a promotion purpose. It must ensure the integrity of the cause and those that are the faces and voices for this. Otherwise, the message will never get through, and it will be seen as nothing more than a marketing tool.
Too many lives have been lost, too many people are suffering because of the toxicity in our society where there is no respect or equality. Too many are voicing their lack of respect and equality on the pages of social media and want their words to get through to their intended target. For the club to mark this round to highlight the need for the message of respect and equality, it must look carefully in the social media pages and stamp out the toxicity that is running riot.
Respect and Equality…promote it, act it, speak it! Don’t just do it for some things and not others!