I’ve copied a couple of posts I made to a club forum regarding James Hird, and this situation. It goes some way towards explaining my position, and my admiration for the man:
James Hird as a footballer had many magical attributes we all admired, but what made him truly great was his courage, his determination, and his will to make a difference. When others would flag or accept defeat he would keep going. It’s no real surprise that it’s those qualities that continue to define him today. There seem many ready to heap scorn upon him these days, but I can’t help feeling an admiration that continues to surprise me. What a mad, magnificent bastard! This is what greatness is, even if it fails.
Now, as before, he will not accept what he knows to be wrong. Lesser men, and many here, would have given up by now. We can wring our hands and wail about how shithouse it’s been and how we just want it to be over, but whatever inconvenience we feel as supporters is a thousand times worse for Hird. He can’t walk down the street without people muttering at him. He picks up a newspaper and it’s all about what a selfish bastard he is. He’s banned from his job, forbidden to speak, and effectively banished. Even some who support him turn. Still he fights on, like a Spartan he may come to resemble.
I can’t turn from that. Forget that he’s an Essendon man, I admire the spirit and determination. That’s a man I want to know and follow. That’s a man I want to support – the man the players know and love. That’s a man I believe in, and want leading the club I love.
Am I blind? Perhaps, a little, but blind in the right way. There come times in life when you have to make a call, when the choice is between believing in something greater or accepting something smaller. I don’t know what is pragmatic or sensible now, but in any case they are words that have lost meaning for me.
As someone said earlier this is just footy, but it’s our footy club, yours and mine, and the results on the field must ultimately come second to the values we have cleaved to and believe associated to the club, the greater meaning of what we support and believe in. Call me an idealist, but there’s a sense of justice I feel as passionately about as James does. I can’t have that compromised and blithely continue watching the footy as if none of that matters. It does matter. The score on the board means nothing if we have lost what we stand for in achieving it. Footy is more than just 4 points, it’s about identity and belief and passion.
For me James Hird has epitomised those qualities for his whole career, but never more than now. If we abandon him then we abandon something of that self that brought us to the club.
This will end one day, believe it or not. How do you want to look back at it?
Hirdy wants to expose the sordid, rotten dealings of ASADA and AFL. This is what we all need. This is what should happen because it’s the right thing. Too much of the world today is squalid deals and politically contrived stunts. Pick up any newspaper. How refreshing it is to find a good man willing to stand up against it and say I’m not going to take it anymore. More of us should follow his example. It’s a dim, dark world these days, and no-one should despise anyone who seeks to shine a light into the murk. That’s what Hird is attempting to do. Good on him – he has my support, and should have the support of more regardless of what team you barrack for. He wants to bring the crumbling edifice down, and that’s why the AFL are terrified of him – he threatens their safe existence.