Foreword to the
“With great power comes great responsibility”
More than a million children aged 17 and under watched the AFL and NRL Grand finals and the first State of Origin League match last year. Another 630,00 young people between 18 and 24 also viewed those three telecasts. All of them exposed to alcohol advertising and sponsorship.
When years of longitudinal studies repeatedly confirm that exposure to such messages not only influences young attitudes on drinking, but actually increases the likelihood of alcohol consumption and the quantities consumed, sport can no longer continue its active role in affecting our vulnerable youth with blind irresponsibility.
The media, legislators and even the alcohol industry have proven to be incapable of refraining from promoting harmful alcohol advertising to our children. It is now up to sport to act.
Athletes and sports administrators must understand the enormity of their responsibility given the tremendous influence they have on the hearts and minds of the young.
The life-span of athletes, coaches, and, indeed, sports administrators can be quite brief. When that privileged tenure has ended, how will we measure our accomplishments. For long after the final siren has sounded, it is the lives we’ve changed that matter most. The true test is whether those changes have been for the better or worse.
Above all my personal achievements in sports administration, I consider few greater than the eradication of alcohol from any involvement with the Perth Wildcats.
It is now up to the more powerful and wealthy sports such as cricket, rugby league and motor racing, who rank very poorly in this area, to show leadership by walking away from alcohol – especially in light of their enormous revenues from media and other healthy sponsors.
Of course, there will be a cost. But what price shall we place on the welfare of future generations?
Former CEO and Managing Director, Perth Wildcats and Perth Lynx
Former Chairman National Basketball League