Melbourne Storm, WTF?

Melbourne Storm, wow. You guys had everyone convinced that you had somehow managed to create a dynasty in this era of equality, that the salary cap was no barrier to success. And whilst this still may remain true, and the salary cap did prove to be no barrier, you have disgraced yourself, your fans, your players, the NRL, and all of New South Wales- basically, everyone who has a vested interest in rugby league.
The thing I’m most concerned with in this situation, though, is the ramifications of the punishment laid down to the Storm. They’ve already gotten rid of Brian Waldron, the supposed hubristic architect of this scheme, and have been fined millions, were stripped of their last two premierships, and deducted all their points earned (and any potential future points earned) this season. I see how the NRL has done pretty much all they can given their stunted powers, but it doesn’t seem enough to me. How can you retroactively strip someone of a premiership? All the emotions and personal glory that comes with it cannot be reversed; maybe the players might feel a small bit cheated now, the victories seeming a tad hollow, but there’s no doubt that feeling like that is infinitely better than never having won at all.
The other main aspect of this that I’m interested in is the aforementioned deduction of this season’s points. I agree with the loss of all that the Storm has accumulated so far, but to say that any more points amassed this year will count for naught is absolutely bizarre. By doing so, it highlights a weird philosophical quandary that exists in sports. Here’s why.
The general consensus is that because the Storm cannot gain any more points, their wins count for nothing, and there is effectively no point to them playing other than to disrupt other teams. This, it seems, would result in their games being attended by literally none of their supporters (assuming they still have some). The players would have literally no reason to play in these games, apart from playing and winning bonuses.
Of course, my thinking is not quite diametrically opposed to this, but pretty damn close to being so. I kind of look at it as a chance for us to step back and look at sports objectively. What is the point of sporting contests in the first place? Why should a particular team winning have any impact on our lives? Why should it have an impact on anyone’s life? Realistically, whether you can catch a ball two and a half metres up in the air doesn’t make you a better person, nor should it make your life better. What I’m trying to say is that there was no reason for anyone to support the Storm in the first place.
When I asked my Dad why winning the Premiership is important this afternoon, he was dumbstruck. Like many unabashed sports supporters, he cannot take a step back and look at the situation holistically, and see sport for what it is (or should be)- just a game. Of course, this isn’t to say that I can’t enjoy or appreciate a Premiership; I follow many teams in a multitude of sports, and if they happen to win, I honestly am affected by it. But my affectation is for different reasons, I think. I like what sports does to other people, mostly; how if their team wins, a die-hard supporter will be genuinely blissful. Watching the Thunder-Lakers NBA match today, I found myself cheering every Thunder basket vicariously. Admittedly, I do actually support them, but I was cheering partially because of the crowd; their sheer dedication, their willing along of the Thunder, was infectious and irrepressible. And this is why I find it much easier to support the home team in any sporting competition- if I am unbiased, the only times I’ll go for the visitors is to be a non-conformist tool.
(Apologies for the lack of coherence, I wrote this whilst hungry.)

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4 responses to “Melbourne Storm, WTF?

  1. I think it’s a testament to how religiously Australia believes in the ridiculous concept of the salary cap. Seriously, is there any other country where it exists? Either this is a massive case of tall poppy syndrome, or the organisers are stupid (well, obviously the latter is true).

    I guess I like the idea in theory, because had I not heard of a salary cap before I would assume it simply meant the players themselves can’t be paid over a certain amount, which I would be in favour of, although it still wouldn’t work unless it was a more common rule. In practice, it just means that there is a limit to how good a team can be. It’s as if when one player broke their leg, every players’ leg must be broken as well, to make things fair. Actually, I would support that, that would be hilarious.

    Imagine instead of salary cap breaches, they had found out the whole team was on performance-enhancing drugs. I can’t imagine people being in as much outrage as they are now…

    • It’s not really about the salary cap, it’s more that they cheated and broke the rules to get the premiership. The salary cap has been used in all American sporting leagues (minus baseball) for a while now as well, and the point of it isn’t as much to even out the competition as it is to prevent the clubs from overspending and going bankrupt. According to the salary cap auditor Ian Schubert, that’s what used to happen, and then the clubs would have to merge like St George-Illawarra.

      • So they have a rule so that idiots can run clubs more easily? If they overspend that’s there own stupid fault. Imagine if there was a law that you couldn’t buy more than $100 of groceries at a time in case you ran out of money for beer and porn later in the week, it’s stupid. And the fact that America uses it does not reassure me, rather it makes me more certain it’s a rule made by and designed for idiots. You know what I think of NFL!

  2. Wow, nice take. I hadn’t considered it like that.

    From a practical standpoint, the individual players who took part in flaunting the salary cap should be punished, having committed a criminal offense. On the other hand, I think it’s just ridiculous that Storm must keep playing for no points, it ruins the integrity of the game. It would have been better to say that they will receive no competition points while still above the salary cap. That would have them quickly toe the line.

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