In a politically correct society where we’re told what to be offended by and to what level, you have to really give some credit to veteran ABC commentator Warren Ryan, who last weekend quit his job calling rugby league in the wake of a so-called ‘racism row’.
He didn’t quit because of a publicity storm; moreso because he wasn’t going to apologise for something he doesn’t believe warrants it.
Firstly, let’s get the background right.
During a broadcast of an NRL match, Ryan is heard to say, ‘‘There’s a line in a movie where the old darky says, someone says, ‘quittin’ time’. He said, ‘it’s not quittin’ time. I say quittin’ time’. Then he yells out, ‘quittin’ time!’ In other words you mustn’t do that, that’s our job… you musn’t get it right”.
Ryan should not have used the term ‘old darky’, but any normal thinking person who hasn’t had their head in a blender recently would know the intent was not racism.
Ryan was suspended for the comment, but it gets worse.
The ABC also suspended his co-commentator David Morrow. What did he say, you ask? Well, nothing. The ABC have suspended him because he chuckled in the background and they want to know why he found it funny.
Now if that isn’t political correctness gone mad, nothing is.
I still can’t work out how the ABC reached the conclusion that Morrow needed any sort of sanctioning.
If you listen back to the audio, Morrow is silent when the ‘old darky’ term is used. He chuckles when Ryan is finished saying the lines quoted above – to indicate he understands the point Ryan is trying to get across in the context of the game.
His suspension is a joke that the ABC should be ashamed of.
As for Ryan, he said some very apt words last weekend: “There is no appeasing those who are determined to be offended”.
Ryan’s use of the term ‘old darky’ was wrong, I’m sure he would admit that in hindsight, but it is clear that there’s no intent to cause offence and certainly, no widespread racism rant that warrants his suspension.
No matter what your take on it though, you have to admire Ryan for not doing what the politically correct brigade would want him to do – offer an apology.
Ryan notes that any apology would be insincere, so he isn’t going to offer one.
Oddly enough, it seems those who have decided we should all be ashamed of Ryan’s comments would rather an insincere apology than none at all.
And what of Ryan’s employer, the ABC?
This is the same ABC that proudly co-produces and broadcasts a show like ‘Jonah from Tonga’, which plays up to unsavoury racial stereotypes masquerading as comedy.
The same ABC that defended its right to depict and call the News Corp journalist Chris Kenny a “dog f—–”.
Racism certainly still exists in our society around the world and when you see it, you know what it is and you should call it out.
But if we’re throwing the actions of Warren Ryan into the racism category, we must be doing a mighty good job of tackling it.
The ABC should be ashamed of the way it has treated Ryan – a long-serving and loyal employee – and should work quickly to repair the injustice done to David Morrow.
Unfortunately, Morrow’s record will be forever tarnished because someone at the ABC decided chuckling at a remark that wasn’t racist in the first place is in itself deserving of an investigation. Now that’s the real joke.