The professionalism of any sporting code brings much good but also some bad. One print outlet recently described the business of professional sport as a “vipers nest”.
In the glow of the increased media coverage, higher salaries & greater sponsorship $ sometimes the cut throat environment that pro sport can be is forgotten. The wheeling and dealing of player contracts, the reality that winning = bums on seats/media coverage/sponsorship $ and losing can put you in the red and the increased accountability of those who govern the sport and its participants.
Netball has ridden a wave of positivity over the last 12 months in particular but headlines like the ones in mainstream print media this week are a little alarming.
Depending in which camp you sit, Netball Australia are a visionary progressive bunch taking netball into a new shiny frontier or an organisation that rushed into a league that fails to provide a level playing field between teams owned by state netball bodies and those aligned with glamour professional sporting clubs.
Today saw media outlets reporting that the country’s top netballers are threatening striking this weekend’s round of Suncorp Super League or boycotting playing for Australia. To me this is never a good look for athletes as no player is greater than the game. Where a superstar stands today is the next superstar in the making just waiting to get their chance and foot in the door. Fans can be fickle and the shiny lights can quickly fade. And don’t even get me started on what I think about “boycotting” the chance to play for your country….
One of my male friend succinctly summed it up as looking from the outside “like a shitfight”.
All will be revealed over the next few days but I dearly hope this is merely a bump in the road and netball (and womens’ professional sport) continues on its steady ascent in Australia.