Sunday, 11 October 2009

Brendan Fevola's "Pokie" Problem

There is no report that Brendan Fevola has any gambling problem let alone a problem with pokie gambling. Yet Fev's problem with alcohol has much in common with the way people with pokie addictions are regarded.

There is no question that Fev's behaviour on Brownlow night was more than disgraceful. He should be fully responsible for his actions both in drinking too much and the consequences of his inebriated state. There is no excuse for diminishing that responsibility.

Similiarly an addicted pokie gambler should be fully responsible not only for the waste of time and money involved in the act of such gambling but also the consequences of such action. The fact that losses were sustained gambling on the pokies does not excuse those who embezzle or steal to maintain their pokie addiction.But others also deserve blame and they should, like Fevola, admit their wrongdoing and shoulder their responsibility for the resulting harm. Such admission and assumption of responsibility applies whether it is service of alcohol or service of pokie gambling. It is wrong that those who profit as a result of their association with Brendan Fevola seem to remove themselves from any responsibility. Likewise, it is wrong for those who profit from pokie gambling to do anything less than admit their own culpability and responsibility.

Let's start with the media. Who handed a clearly drunk Fevola a microphone? Who directed the Channel 9 Footy Show camera people to follow him around? Who edited the segment for laughs (and laughs it got) for the grand final Footy Show? What about the ambush by the Super Footy camera people? These appalling Fevola segments will likely be the most remembered and talked about segments that aired for these outlets paving the way for ratings and consequent advertising support.

The media makes money from Fev.

Who continued to serve Fev alcohol after anyone with half a clue could see he was drunk. That would be the Crown Casino. Was there some intent by Crown to bring on the likely disaster of another Brendan Fevola performance and the resultant media coverage so as to bizarrely enhance the casino's reputation?

The casino makes money from Fev.

Who ensured that throughout the Brownlow ceremony all tables had beer and wine prominently placed on the tables? The shapes and labels of Carlton Premium were unmistakeable. Nearly every footballer was seen with a beer during the ceremony including Fev. Most of their partners with a glass of wine. Even Fev was holding a "Crownie" when drunkenly lurching before the television cameras. How much did Fosters pay to have their products on camera? This is in a program intended to be seen by families and is the worst kind of product placement. This depiction leads to the normalisation of alcohol consumption as a part of the Australian way of life. While directly contrary to the intent of the Drinkwise campaign partially funded by Fosters (the makers of Carlton Premium lager); this placement is intended to sell more Crownies.

The alcohol industry makes money from Fev.

Who was Fev's footy club for the last 11 years? The Carlton Football club picked Brendan Fevola at the age of 17 and kicked 575 goals for that team. Fev is an undisputable attraction. He draws parents and children to matches and fans to join as members of the club. He is a two time Coleman medallist. While Fev was reported to have been stood down from Carlton's leadership group after the March 2008 incident, he was neither suspended nor delisted by Carlton who argued that such action would not assist Fevola in addressing his issues. Greg Swann stated "We have also agreed with Brendan that if there are any more alcohol-related incidents then that will result in him being terminated by the Carlton football club." There was no such termination after the 2008 Carlton end of season celebrations.

The Carlton Football Club makes money from Fev.

There has been no reported statements I am aware of from the media, the alcohol industry, the AFL or the Carlton FC accepting any responsibility for the consequent harm of Fevola's behaviour. It's just like the pokies. Neither the government, the pokie manufacturers nor the pokie pubs or clubs publicly assume responsibility for the consequent harm of gambling addition. Indeed they promote Gamble For The Fun Of It and publicly urge individuals to "Gamble Responsibly"

The last word on Fev's addiction and the shouldering of blame belongs to Bruce Mathieson;
"Carlton powerbroker Bruce Mathieson last night launched a stinging attack on bad boy Brendan Fevola, describing him as a cancer on the club.
Fevola again apologised for his drunken rampage on Brownlow Medal night as he was off-loaded to the Brisbane Lions yesterday.
But it was not enough for Mr Mathieson, who was delighted Fevola was finally gone.
"Really we should have done it a long time ago." he said.
"A bloke like that has no respect for anyone, for his mates or for his club.
"I don't think blokes like that ever wake up. He's got so much talent but after he finishes football he's unemployable. Who would want to do business with him?"

Mr Mathieson is the boss of ALH (75% owned by Woolworths) and runs their 11,000 pokies. Studies show that pokie gambling addicts provide a disproportionate amount of pokie revenue. Woolworths have refused to publicly adopt and implement the National Principles for responsible gaming.

There is a nasty consistency in Mathieson's view of Fev's alcohol problems, the addictive harm his own pokie business feeds on and an absence of shouldering responsibility.

Who would want to do business with him?

1 comment:

David said...

"...an addicted pokie gambler should be fully responsible not only for the waste of time and money involved in the act of such gambling but also the consequences of such action."

So the addicted pokie gambler should really be considered the scum of society - that's precisely what many think; that these are the people who we should pursue, not the proprietors of gaming venues.

Do you own a car? You know that it can potentially directly kill thousands of people. It probably contributes to the ill health of at least some people. Who do we blame - you or the vehicle manufacturers.

Can you please outline your meta-moral theories - that might help you reach a more consistent moral approach. At the moment you appear all over the shop.