Jeff Kennett has found himself in the middle of a dispute relating to comments he made on the Duty of Care of a country footy club. He was asked to mediate and issue between a club and a trainer that they sacked after it got out in public that the trainer was bi-sexual. Instead of me going through the issue again here, I have decided that the easiest way to get the story on here, is to share some email communication I had with Patrick Smith of The Australian.
fromPhillip Malone firstname.lastname@example.org
dateTue, Jul 29, 2008 at 8:33 AM
subjectJeff Kennetts comments and your comments on them
hide details Jul 29 (2 days ago)
I am suprised as a "leading" jorno that you suckered into this issue when you surely realise that the quotes WERE taken out of context.
Firstly if you read the first quote he made, he gives no personal opinion on the situation other to say that the club was trying to do the right thing (and in fact isn’t quoted as to if he thinks they do the right thing or not as far thinking a gay trainer is a risk). Here is that first quote again (http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,24083078-661,00.html):
"The club felt that once this had been pointed out and you had this gentleman there who was obviously close to young men – massaging young men – it ran an unnecessary risk and that’s why it decided it was best that he not perform those duties again. So the club was trying to do the right thing," Mr Kennett said.
Why the comma at the end of the quote? Doesn’t it suggest that he went on to say more? You a Jorno, can you explain why this comma was left (and I don’t think its a typo as a similar comma is left in the follow up article).
He follows that quote up with another saying they have to be sure. So again remembering that his first quote never directly mentions gays/homosexuals but does talk about the club feeling its an "unacceptable risk" he mentions another sort of risk as a analogy:
"It’s the same if you have a pedophile there as a masseur, right?"
"And you might say the pedophile would do no damage, but once it was pointed out to you, you have a duty of care to those underage children not to put them in a situation of risk."
Notice I include both quotes but not the authors leading comments? WHy would I do that? Because if you read the one comment OUT OF CONTEXT, it sounds like he is comparing the actual man to a paedophile when he is comparing the perceived risk. If you read what he is quoted as saying, he actually says that perhaps a paedophile wouldn’t do any damage, but you remove him for the RISK or perceived RISK.
Then the author of the article turns it to Hawthorn but if you read the quotes, it almost looks like Jeff is saying, "This isn’t about the man being gay (or bi) its about the duty of care issue, why do you keep going on about gays" (this of course isn’t an actual quote, don’t want to misquote anyone, not like Darren Hinch!). His is the quote:
"I don’t know if we’ve got any.
"I’m just saying at the moment we have a duty of care to our players and staff and you have to make judgments on that. If you don’t do it you end up with potential legal liability."
Again talking about Duty of care and saying that you (or Boonie Doon) have to make judgements.
Now when discussing this with people, many have said what risk is there in having a gay trainer and I have thought about that and I put it to them as this: I don’t see any problem myself, we don’t know what possible risk Jeff might see because he is never asked or it is never reported (wouldn’t that be a question you would have asked if you felt he was linking gays to paedophiles? Would you have said something like do you think there is more of a chance of a gay man fiddling with the kids or something like that? Surely that would have moved the story to the frontpage) and the only people we know that actually saw this as a risk is Boonie Doon, you would have to ask them.
Now you mentioned that his comment that he was taken out of context won’t and shouldn’t help him but what if he is taken out of context? I mean, I am assuming you are pulling these quotes out of the HUN article and you didn’t hear them from the horses mouth (so to speak), right? So we have less then half an interview. Firstly we only have the quotes the Jurno choose to use from Jeff and then there is evidence to suggest not full quotes. Secondly we don’t have the other side of the interview, i.e. the questions asked of Jeff to get the responses that he did. Did you call the HUN jurno and ask for the full tape of the Interview (I believe it is common to record interviews like this to quote the guys correctly) so that you could have the context correct yourself (especially as one half of the interview said he was taken out of context and explains the correct context and it fits: I’m not interested in the sexuality of a particular person. "What I am talking about is duty of care and litigation so I have been completely taken out of context." Read the quote about what Hawthorn would do and this response further supports my suggestion that it was returned in a somewhat angry/frustrated matter after continued Homosexual based question).
Well I have gone on long enough. I hope you can have another look at the articles and your comments and admit you are/maybe wrong on this one, just as Jeff in the cold light of day would say that he wished he had of said axe murder and not paedophile.
Phillip Molly Malone
PS. I on the record on this issue
Then Patrick’s first Reply
Thanks for taking the time to write. And in such detail. I think it is necessary, however, to explain to you that every quote – be it in a paper, magazine, book or website – will end a quote with a comma than close the quotes thus - ,”. For example if I was to quote your first line in an article it would read like this.
“I am suprised as a "leading" jorno that you suckered into this issue when you surely realise that the quotes WERE taken out of context,” Phillip Malone said yesterday. That is simply the correct grammar. As for your broader point, Kennett directly linked homosexuality to paedophilia which is offensive.
Strange comments about the comma. I almost failed Grade 5 English, but this didn’t wash with me so I went back:
Thanks for replying, I have two responses:
- If as you say "that every quote – be it in a paper, magazine, book or website – will end a quote with a comma than close the quotes thus -" why did you choose to end your quote from AD in your article with a full stop and not a comma (http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,24092768-16957,00.html)?
But it was comments made by Cappuccino on the weekend that have proved so offensive AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou was drawn to say: "Jeff Kennett does not speak for the AFL."
- How did he "directly" link "homosexuality to paedophilia" (am I meant to use commas on these quotes?) when he didn’t actually mention Homosexuality in the any of his comments? Do you actually mean that by bringing it up he INDIRECTLY linked it?
Be interested in your thoughts (and your teaching on the use of comma in quoting).
I think at this point Patirck was feeling cornered and like he didn’t have good answers, but answer he did:
Point one: Again it is a simple point of grammar. I’ll use your sentence again but introduce you first. Phillip Malone said yesterday: "I am suprised as a "leading" jorno that you suckered into this issue when you surely realise that the quotes WERE taken out of context." In neither case – comma or full stop – have you been taken out of context. It is simply the correct grammatical use.
Point two: If Kennett was not talking about homosexual trainers why was he commenting on at all? He was commenting, of course, directly on the case of a trainer – homosexual – who is seeking action under anti-discrimination laws. The link is obvious but you appear to be deliberately avoiding it.
With this response, firstly he totally goes off the comma issue (I know its a bit boring but I feel something is hidden by that comma, but what?) and then accuses me of missing a link, but not offering hard proof. So I went back on this again to try and get an answer and to challenge Patrick to show some hard evidence by putting forward 3 challenges:
Point 1: Doesn’t a Comma normally mean like a short break but the sentence continues where a full stop is an end to a sentence (forgive the generalness of this comment, I almost got kept back in grade 5 due to bad English and it never has improved, but I believe I am basically right". Some times this Jurno uses a full stop and sometimes he uses a comma, isn’t it fair to think that he uses a full stop an the end of a sentence and a comma when more was said? I believe papers try to get punctionuation correct and don’t just accidental use one mark in one place and another in another, there is a reason and the logical one is more was said, don’t you think? Assume I am right, aren’t you curious what that was and why it was left out?
Point 2: You know why he was commenting on this situation, he was asked to mediate it (as noted in the second story). You also know he wasn’t talking about homosexuals as he says that not once but twice (once in each article) he is talking about duty of care. I don’t deny that the link is obvious but you said there was a direct link and there isn’t a direct link. Even you have to admit that, right? The link isn’t obvious but you appear to be deliberately avoiding that fact (makes a better story for you). But then again, unfounded prejudice is hard to change!
I have some yes/no questions for you (you can give DIRECT not inferred evidence if you answer yes though):
1) In the first article does Jeff (Jeff not the Jurrno) ever mention gay or Homosexual?
2) In the first article does he ever give his opinion on if having a gay trainer is a risk (I am not asking if Jeff understood what the club did, but his thought on the danger/risk of a gay trainer)?
3) In the article, does he actually ever say that the Club is in the right (or does he actually just say that he understands)?
Look forward to your response with an open mind.
Just got a response and not sure whether to reply. I think he is getting pissed of this now, but still he avoids the issue. Not sure why the level of professionalism goes down in this one, but its email so you get the point:
Sorry about the delay in getting back.
The coma is used at the end of the quote to indicate there is more in the sentence to come. EG: ,” said Phillip Malone. When there isn’t – in the instance when you are introduced first – the full point is used because that is the end of the sentence. A comma is only used to break a sentence up so that it reads more easily and clearly. EG: Phillip Malone, who drives a BMW, supports Hawthorn. A full point is used ion a quote to indicate more is said not a coma. For instance if I wanted to quote your first line but not use all of it then it would appear this way. Phillip Malone said yesterday: "I am suprised as a "leading" jorno that you suckered into this issue…….” Or if I wanted to quote just parts of your sentence then it would appear this way. Phillip Malone said yesterday: "I am suprised ……. when you surely realise that the quotes WERE taken out of context." Hope that clarifies it.
Point 2: "The club felt that once this had been pointed out and you had this gentleman there who was obviously close to young men – massaging young men – it ran an unnecessary risk and that’s why it decided it was best that he not perform those duties again. So the club was trying to do the right thing," Mr Kennett said. That quote clearly identifies Kennett talking about homosexuals when he says “this gentleman.” The gentleman in question was gay otherwise there wd be no story. Phillip it is pointless and emphatically wrong to keep saying Kennett was no talking about a homosexual. The direct there is direct and undeniably so. I have no prejudice in this matter. I am simply reporting on what Kennett sd.
As for the rest: the article is all about homosexuality and the right of a gay person to work at a football club. It is madness to continue to mount an argument that Kennett was not talking about a homosexual man. Kennett equated being gay to being a paedophile. That is why he has been so roundly criticised. He does give his opinion when he says: "And you might say the pedophile would do no damage, but once it was pointed out to you, you have a duty of care to those underage children not to put them in a situation of risk."
I agree the gentleman in question has said that he is Bi (no offense if you read this Ken) but gay/homosexual is pretty close but the real issue is, is the it’s referred to it’s = gay, or it’s = Duty of care when their is a Perceived risk, whether valid or not.
So I ask that you do a bit better then poor Patrick and try to look beyond the hysteria of this issue and look what Jeff actually said, not what others claim he said.
And to all those calling for his head from Beyond Blue or the Hawks, get a life! He has done a great job with both and it would be ridiculous for him to move on from either over a silly misunderstanding. In saying this, I wish he had of used a different analogy (someone suggested the perceived risk of second hand smoke) and I hope (although he said he wouldn’t apologies for this misunderstanding to the gay community), that he did apologies to Ken.