I watched last night Fox Footy’s Open Mike that had John Murphy and his son, Carlton captain, Marc Murphy. Then today I read an article (again) about a man, Peter Norman an Australian athlete, who for some have never even heard of, but who in 1968 made a statement of support in a simple gesture against the rampant racism in the USA at that time. What have these two got to do with each other, well a lot really. Here’s why.
Peter Norman who stood with two black athletes representing the USA in the 1968 Olympics and who won gold and bronze, Peter Norman won the silver. The two athletes, Tommie Smith and John Carlos stood on the podium after receiving their medals and with a black glove on one hand, stood heads bowed, raised arms as their national anthem played, making stand for African American civil rights. Peter Norman stood there, resolute, strong, wearing the same badge on his top as Smith and Carlos did, showing his support, and for that he was treated with ostracism from the Australian sports world and from Australian society as a whole, back then. But never once, not even when he was told if he would relinquish his stance publicly, he could compete again, did he ever waiver in his support, for he knew what the right thing to do was.
Listening to John Murphy last night as he recounted his story about how he became a footy player for the Fitzroy FC even though his father, Leo who played for Hawthorn in the 1930’s, tried to convince his son to join Hawthorn, he went to Fitzroy because he said it suited him better. But in 1977 he was dismissed as he made comments that at that time there were players who should not be at the club if the club wanted to achieve a Premiership, himself included, if needed. He stated to Mike Sheehan that he stands by his comments to this day.
Marc Murphy stated that he did have the chance to move up to Brisbane in the 2005 draft under the father/son rule, but for both, Fitzroy was not the Brisbane Lions and so he nominated for the National Draft instead and was selected by Carlton.
What has Peter Norman’s stance got to do with the Murphy’s, well, hear me out. John Murphy told his son that whatever club he goes to, he should be a one-club player and Marc Murphy has demonstrated this by not waivering his support for the Carlton FC. In each case with the Murphy’s and Norman, principles determined their actions. For in each case, it was not about the glory but about the principles of what makes not only a great sportsman, but a person as well. After watching On the Couch last night, I had a renewed respect for Marc Murphy as a player and a captain. He knows what he must do in order to get the club back to the top and he knows that he still has a lot more to give in footy and his best is yet to come.
In the footy world where players move around based on nothing more than self-glory, it is refreshing to see that there are some who place more value in the quiet achievements of what they can bring to their team and their sport and don’t need the accolades or the approval from the media hungry world. Even though Norman’s stance was so vastly different from the Murphy’s, the core is the same, respect and integrity.
#BOUND BY BLUE
P.S If you want to read the story of Peter Norman, copy this link: