After the huge reaction to both Joe Brolly's Off the Ball interview and Gaelic Life column around player welfare last week, the Derryman has been moved to write a further two page spread in this week's edition of the GAA paper.
His opening line – about a county training session this week – is certainly a shocking one...
After the reaction to last week's column, Joe Brolly has penned a special two-page piece for today's edition. #GAA pic.twitter.com/Yb0bYPr0i7
— Gaelic Life (@Gaelic_Life) January 15, 2015
Brolly goes on to describe said treatment:
He was hit hard and late and subjected to verbal abuse. It is the sort of story you might associate with jocks playing US college football, or marines at an army training camp.
Reading his piece I couldn't help be reminded of a scene from HBO's The Wire when Wallace is murdered by his best friends Poot and Bodie for squealing. Wallace had wanted out of 'the game' after he became overrun with guilt for his part in the murder of Omar Little's boyfriend.
Now, obviously I'm not comparing a player getting abuse from his teammates to someone being shot but the essence of the relationships are the same. Sometimes you need someone to stand up and say enough is enough, and when that happens, are your comrades going to back you or are they going to stay in 'the game'?
Except the ironic thing in the instance of the Brolly story is that the player hadn't actually said anything. But that's not the point. Even if he had, what wrong would he have done? Stand up for the welfare of himself and his teammates? If that's a crime in sport then we may as well put the whole thing up on DoneDeal now.
If the leadership within a team like that - be it management or players - are truly leaders then they've to stamp such a reaction out.
In the words of Bodie:
Where the fuck they at when they're supposed to be standing by us? I mean when shit goes bad and there's hell to pay, where they at?
This game is rigged, man. I feel like the little bitches on a chess board.
Brolly's column continues with more evidence of players getting in touch with him about how they were so happy he has spoken out. There's very little of his usual humour or anecdotes. He's a man who has got the bit between his teeth. When discussing the idea of shorter season he argues that it comes down to cash:
It might mean less money. Wherein lies the problem. Capitalism has seduced the current leadership, to the extent that the option of protecting the club players, the county players, the members and the noble ideals of the association is seen as radical and unreasonable.
And who knows; maybe he's wrong in some parts. Certainly Niall Moyna and James Horan have spoken well in recent days in defense of how they treat their players. But Brolly isn't harming players by trying to stick up for them. Nor are any players who talks to him, on or off the record.
When are we going to stop treating others within the GAA as the enemy? Why hurt someone when you're supposed to be their friend?
'It's all in the game,' I suppose.
hat-tip: Gaelic Life. Read this week's edition here for just a €1