Players should have not to apologize about Australian experience

Another tragic chapter in the realm of indoor women’s football in America is taking place. A few months ago, the league had planned its second annual season in Australia. Aggressive marketing had also taken place, as various competitors from several of the league’s franchises decided to participate down under, helping to grow the league and its brand. For various reasons, the league had pulled the plug before the season even started, with several of its players having already taken temporary residence in Australia.

Despite this setback, a new league formed in Australia, welcoming many of the stranded (to a degree) American players. The result was an exhibition tournament featuring All-Star teams from Australia, New Zealand and the United States. For several months, the American-based league made no comments about this event. Its only statement was that it was planning to give the second season another try in the near future.

With the American league opening tryout camps in the United States for its 2015 season, it would have been very easy to assume that any hard feelings about the rival league in Australia was behind. Of course, such assumptions were ill conceived.

Recently, three North American-based players have posted online apologies via social media about their playing time in Australia. Obviously, this raises eyebrows. Taking into account past incidents where league leadership became infamous for its acts of attritions and off-field mind games, how could the finger of blame not be pointed in their direction? As a side note, some of the players that are assumed to be favorites among league leadership have not issued any kind of apologies about their playing time in Australia.

Although there is very little detail as to what transpired to cause this series of apologies to take place among the three players, one cannot help but feel that the result may be broken friendships and possible bad blood, all unnecessarily generated because member(s) of the league’s leadership are grudging individual(s). Concern over another league bears more relevance than one’s own league, which is quickly becoming inconsequential.

This is another example where former players must unite and continue to make their voices heard about such bullying behavior. In addition, the Australian league must come forward as a show of gratitude to stand up for these victimized players who have likely been made to feel worthless while possibly enduring verbal abuse. While the outcome of this most recent debacle may certainly discourage other potential players to consider participation in Australia, the bigger picture shows the league sinking deeper and deeper into its own hole, continuing to add more fuel to the fires that have burnt bridges.

Let us not forget that the infamous league cancelled its planned sophomore season down under, leaving its own star players inconvenienced. If three players have to apologize to the league about their time playing down under, should all the other players follow? With all the photos that were taken by players and posted on social media, including comments about the fun they had, will there need to be apologies for that as well?

In retrospect, common sense would have dictated that the league should have made a statement about its players participating in a rival league before any events even started.
In reality, no one should have to apologize except the league itself. Of note, its leadership made promises that it was not able to keep, something that former players in Canada are far too familiar with.

This type of petty and mean-spirited intimidation is not acceptable and another example of how some of the league’s bullies poorly treat women, despite its sole existence being based on women competing. As said league continues its plans to expand into Europe, this just continues to damage their already shaken credibility.


Author: markstaffieri

A proud supporter of women in sport. My influences in covering women's sport include Andria Hunter and Jaclyn Hawkins. Both are former women’s hockey players who created their own websites, providing a deeper insight for their respective sport. Unable to identify with multi-millionaire male athletes, the role of women in sport is one that provides inspiration while preserving the spirit of sportsmanship. My first exposure to women and sport came through Geraldine Heaney and her legendary goal at the 1990 Women's World Hockey Championships. By composing player profiles on women from all sports, it is my opportunity to give back to the female sporting community by showing gratitude for their hard work and effort. While women's hockey opened the door to a larger yet remarkable world of sport, the quantum leap in women's football and global growth of women's basketball have only helped to fuel my interest in the female game. Some of the athletes that I admire include Caroline Ouellette and Natalie Spooner (hockey), Lolo Jones (track), Connie Fekete and Sami Grisafe (football) plus Anne Erler and Heather Furr (LFL football). Other athletes consist of Sue Bird and Katie Smith (basketball) along with Barbara Mervin and Heather Moyse (rugby). In addition to my efforts on WordPress, I have also contributed to Bleacher Report, the Canadian Women's Hockey League, Hockey Canada, LFL Canada and Women's Hockey Life.

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