The return of the Biff

Matthew Johns’ alter ego Reg Reagan has been calling for the return of “the Biff” for a few years now, and it seems people are starting to listen. Tim posted his opinion on violence in sport in his blog a little while ago – I figured I’d get in on the action following Willie Mason’s one week suspension and $5000 fine for his one punch knock out of British Prop Stuart Fielden.

While Tim argued for violence in sport to be reduced to more civilised levels – I’m going to argue in the other direction. Sport is played for the benefit of the fans. Fans, as demonstrated by many years of blood sport attendance, love a bit of biff. That’s why State of Origin used to be so much fun. There was a good chance someone was going to be clocked on the noggin in a good old fashioned donnybrook.

That’s why the Tri Nations – despite Nathan Fien’s grannygate efforts – have been the most exciting international Rugby League series in years. And it’s why Rugby Union is a game full of pansies… (that ought to get some comments). AFL goes the closest to condoning a bit of fisticuffs of any of the major codes – with punches allowed provided you’re holding onto your opponents jersey.

The National Hockey League – Canada’s premiere sporting brand (Ice Hockey – nb the NHL also involves teams from the US – but its origins are Canadian) – has started a campaign to decrease their game’s violent image – cracking down on the legalised biffs that used to happen on the rink. The NHL is perhaps the most brutally violent sporting competition (ruling out boxing and other dedicated bloodsports). And this is why…

That punch resulted in a career ending injury for the victim and a long running series of law suits. However, there have been lengthier sentences handed out for other incidents like these:

There are all sorts of interesting legal ramifications for the assaults that occur under the guise of a sporting contest – Les Boyd (a former League star) was sued by walking outhouse, Darryl Brohman following an elbow to the head that left him with a broken jaw.

Traditionally considered a game for fairies – Football (or soccer as it’s known in only 2 countries – America and Australia) has had its fair share of on field violence

with Scottish firebrand Duncan Ferguson, who may be on his way to the A League, serving jail time for a headbutt. Irish psycho Roy Keane was sued for intentionally breaking an opponents leg following the publication of his autobiography. And my personal favourite was this incident featuring Eric Cantona. I’ve put this video up before I think, but I like it so much I’ll post it again.


Tim says:

I have no problem with a bit of biff which both people are wiling perticipants including the one in the trinations. Th pommie clearly clenched a fist at him. I felt mason was unlucky to get a week for the punch but deserved 3 for the late high hit. Sucker punches and cheap shots are what cause injuries and are what we need to get rid of in sport entirely.

Anonymous says:

I would give Joel a bit of biff if I ran into him right now. How dare he make such a derogatory comment about females. I bet he was thinking that he got away with it to, thinking that it slipped by without anyone noticing.

Are you single Joel? Can’t be too many females who would put up with that rhetoric so I will have to place my bet on YES.

Now interpret this Joel, “Your blog comment was SUPID!”.

Joel says:

Apologies for the offence, anonymous, there was certainly none intended, it was meant as a joke. And in truth I thought it would be interpreted as such, and gave no thought to “getting away with it.” If you knew me at all, you would know that I treat females with the utmost respect and dignity. So again, my apologies, offence was certainly not intended.

Nathan says:

I make it a policy not to listen to any anonymous posters – at least you put your name to any vitriol/comments you choose to add.

Leah says:

“And it’s why Rugby Union is a game full of pansies… (that ought to get some comments).”


Leah says:

and people who can’t spell “are SUPID” too ;P

And yes, I’m a girl, and yes, I’ve never been offended by anything Joel said.. ^_^