Crime and punishment

It seems odd to me that Matthew Johns could engage in dubious, but legal, conduct and lose his job – and future employability – on that basis. He’ll probably never work in the areas he was, until today, employed in again. Fair? I’m not so sure.

What Johns did wasn’t nice. It was wrong by most definitions of the word, and It will cost the NRL money, it will cost Channel Nine money. But the media witch hunt has been appalling.

It seems particularly hypocritical for the network that brought us “turkey slapping” to stick a turkey with a microphone under John’s nose at an airport demanding an apology on behalf of a girl the reporter doesn’t know and has never met.

It also seems somewhat hypocritical for Australia’s leading newspapers to run such a witch hunt while they have these stories driving their online advertising revenue:


Update: Matthew Johns has now apologised to the woman in question in a pretty contrite interview with ACA (reported here).

“Johns, who was earlier stood down indefinitely from Channel Nine and the Melbourne Storm, said the incident was morally wrong but claimed the woman involved was not acting against her will.

“I did not commit an act of abuse to that woman,” Johns said in the taped interview with A Current Affair. “I am guilty of infidelity to my wife and guilty of absolute stupidity.”

“I would say that on the night when she came back to the room, she was a willing participant in everything that occurred.”

He also said that he was unaware of the effect the incident had caused the woman since the night, which he apologised for.

“Any trauma and embarrassment that she’s gone through as a result of this I’m extremely sorry for.”

6 thoughts on “Crime and punishment”

  1. All media has a bias, and unfortunetly its sympathy that sells the most. People should look carefully at this story, and not just judge people from what the title says.

  2. you seem to have an assumption that people should only lose their jobs if they break the law?

    It’s fair. He’s no longer profitable and not the man for the job. NRL is already tarnished, and Matthew Johns’ actions are going to tarnish it further because society finds what he did unnacceptable. The NRL isn’t firing Johns because they believe what he did was morrally reprehensible, but because it is in the interest of the game.

    Matthew Johns is no longer the man for the job. It’s fair.

    And sometimes media hunts are unfair, but in this case I think it is okay. Even if it was consensual, the women are still victims. There is much more going on in sexual relationships that just two people consenting to a good time.

    1. You make a good point. I understand the “commercial imperative” for the television networks.

      My point is more the hypocrisy shown by the media in pursuing him on the basis of his immoral actions.

      Oh, and the fact that he’s the only one copping any punishment for the incident. He’s a scapegoat. The line that the woman only really remembers Matty Johns is bollocks – these were guys that were on TV on a regular basis. If she hated them so much it wouldn’t have been hard to get all of their names. I don’t think this woman is a blameless victim – a victim, yes, but certainly more calculating than the rival news networks are suggesting.

  3. I think it’s pretty disgusting too. There were another ten or so guys involved, but there hasn’t been a huge search into their identities. It couldn’t be that hard to find out; the woman’s a liar if she claims she “can’t remember” them, and surely she would have told the police their names when the initial investigation took place seven years ago?
    Four Corners should never have gone after the story. Police had already investigated and were satisfied Matthew Johns had no case to answer.

  4. If a big name sportsman does something bad, it makes good news and the media makes a big deal about it.

    I don’t know a whole lot about the story – possibly because when I hear ‘NRL’ my listening capacity automatically switches off – but from what I have heard, I don’t trust the woman involved. Yes, she was a victim, but I think there could be more than that going on here, I’m not sure.

    I do think it is a difficult situation for, in this case, the Channel Nine and NRL bosses, because it does reflect on them, and they have to decide whether to take a risk or not.

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