The simplistic and profoundly stupid narrative that the crowd were booing vaccines has spread far and wide with dimwitted sports journalists misunderstanding the public mood and maligning Australians in publications across the globe from the UK’s Telegraph to the New York Times.Victorians weren’t booing the COVID vaccine program; Australia has some of the highest immunisation rates in the world and the overwhelming majority of the population will voluntarily get the COVID-19 vaccine.The booing had nothing to do with vaccines and everything to do with frustrated sports fans, who had endured multiple lockdowns including one lasting 112-days, not wanting to cop platitudes and political posturing during a sporting event they’d paid through the teeth to witness.So, when Tennis Australia executive Jayne Hrdlicka heaped praise on the Victorian government and spouted feel good platitudes the crowd made their feelings known.“It’s been a time of heartfelt challenge. It’s been a time of deep loss and extraordinary sacrifice for everyone,” she said. “With vaccinations on the way, rolling out in many countries around the world, it’s now a time for optimism and hope for the future.”The booing picked up markedly when she commended the Victorian government, you know the one that oversaw the greatest public policy disaster in the state’s history and is responsible for more than 90 per cent of COVID deaths in Australia and multiple lockdowns including one during the Open.Gosh, I can’t imagine why fans were upset.
Not surprisingly callers on 3AW this morning backed the crowd and understood why fans were frustrated and booing, however the overwhelming sentiment from the media and commentariat has been to paint the fans in the worst possible light imaginable.How dare ordinary folk have an opinion and express it robustly.We should only allow former tennis players and those with a media platform to have a say.There have even been claims that because Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic has questioned whether the COVID-19 vaccine should be compulsory that means he’s an anti-vaxxer and so are his fans and that’s why they booed. Now, that’s a reach.Djokovic clarified his comments about the COVID vaccine back in August: “I am not against vaccination of any kind, because who am I to speak about vaccines when there are people that have been in the field of medicine and saving lives around the world?” he said. The desire to interpret the booing in the most sinister way possible says a lot more about the media than it does about sports fans.Victorian tennis fans aren’t anti-vaxxers, they are just fed up with politics and moral preening intruding on sporting events.
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