The Jack Ginnivan Smear

The vilification of Jack Ginnivan by the media, which has led to the AFL scapegoating him, has been shameful.

But both organizations are excellent at this: the media in determining a narrative, and the AFL in knee-jerk responses that are stopgap attempts to quell the ruckus, rather than legitimately exploring whether a problem exists and then finding a solution.

Ginnivan’s high free throws started off as something that commentators, and in particular Anthony Hudson, gleefully noted, even though replays that forced them to give up free throws were often warranted.

Joel Selwood has repeatedly provoked direct head contact during a glorious career of more than three hundred games, but he has never drawn the ire of the media.

Do we ever hear Hudson, who has a sideline hosting Geelong functions, take aim at Selwood? No. But Ginnivan, a sophomore who entered 2022 with five games under his belt, was immediately raised as a problem to be solved.

Why? Is it because Ginnivan is seen as a troublemaker?

When an opponent pushed Ginnivan to the ground during a break in Collingwood’s clash against North Melbourne, David King was outraged and wondered why Ginnivan deserved to be treated like this.

Cameron Mooney on the edge scoffed in disbelief, asking King if he was kidding. King stepped back. Okay. So we’re blaming the victims now, right? Hello, Cam and David.

(Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Make no mistake: this it is the subtext: Ginnivan deserves whatever comes his way. And if a line has been drawn, it is the one that Ginnivan, rather than his opposition, has crossed, and therefore must be punished.

In FOOTY CLASSIFIED, Ross Lyon pointed out that the opposition is actually approaching him with clenched fists.

The deal has become so ridiculous that even former critics like Kane Cornes have openly questioned the lack of protection Ginnivan is receiving.

Cornes joked that Ginnivan could be “decapitated” and still not get a free prize. Wayne Carey commented that the opposition attacks Ginnivan with carte blanche because they know they will not be punished.

Nothing defines what a charade this has become more than an incident in the first quarter of Collingwood’s clash with Essendon.

Mason Cox picks up the ball, is tackled, and hands it to a passing Ginnivan. Let’s give Mason Redman the benefit of the doubt that it’s just a clumsy high tackle, rather than a deliberate malevolent act.

Still, it’s a free kick, everyone talks about it.

uh huh

Not payed.

In the same move as the tackle, Redman now throws Ginnivan (in a headlock) to the ground. Even legitimate tackles that go on too long are penalized for “holding the man.”

Not so here.

As both players lie on the ground, Redman makes a separate move to dangerously twist Ginnivan’s head.

I’m not sure what the bigger issue here is: that the referees lack the integrity and character to oppose his programming and rightly determine that Ginnivan has been wronged here, not just once, but three times, with the third indiscretion at the reportable limit.

Jack Ginnivan of The Magpies is tackled.

Jack Ginnivan. (Photo by Mark Brake/Getty Images)

Either the AFL will offer their token disapproval and yet nothing will change, or they’ll call it correct because they just don’t want to admit they were so wrong they inflame the situation.

The AFL is big on the “duty of care.” The head is meant to be sacrosanct. We keep hearing this.

Last week, we saw Melbourne’s Kysaiah Pickett draw a high free kick and it was good. We saw commentators praise Fremantle’s Michael Walters for his “ability” to draw a free-fly over.

But the duty of care only exists selectively, it seems.

Jack Ginnivan’s character is irrelevant – he can be mischievous, he can be disrespectful (as he was considered earlier in the season), he can be an outright villain, but once he’s on that football field, he and all the other players are meant to be. Same.

In the event that he is injured during the game because the umpires failed to protect him, it would be interesting to see if he can file a claim with the OHNS because the AFL is creating an unsafe workplace.

For the media who pushed this wheelbarrow and championed this cause, are you proud? Why did you choose to plant this flag now? You’re sacrificing a 19-year-old boy, and for what? Because of prejudice? Because of the clicks? Because you have nothing of genuine value to say?

And to the AFL, what does it represent? What do you really represent?

Because it certainly isn’t right.

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