Year 12 Presentation Of An Issue – Part A
Contention: The presentation of the media debate concerning whether or not HIV athletes should be eligible to participate in contact sports.
Since the AIDS epidemic arose in the early 80’s, people all over the world have been
intimidated by the deadly disease, which seemed to plague only homosexuals and intravenous drug users. This apparent fear concerns most. The media has re-enforced the use of doctors, football experts and medical specialists to repeatedly highlight the indisputable dangers, which has resulted in constant public exposure, blowing the issue way out of proportion. The equal opportunities board is now debating whether Matt Hall an amateur Footballer, should be prohibited from playing for his local club, after admitting he was HIV positive.
The editorial ‘Blood sports’ The Age 25/7/98 (Appendix 1) acknowledges that although there is some chance of Mr. Hall infecting others, the probability of it happening is next to nothing. The opening statement immediately attempts to influence its audience using strong convincing language. The writer begins with a metaphor, describing the situation ‘as having as much chance being kicked to death by a duck’. This metaphor is used perfectly, as we all know the incredible unliklihood of ‘death by duck bashing’, shows just how unreasonable the possibility that other players may contract HIV. However, later in the editorial a rhetorical question is used to view both sides of the argument “Is this an acceptable risk?”. Added to what seemed a one sided argument, the contrast of such a powerful statement, leaves an unbiased view, allowing the audience to make their own minds up.
Statistics taken from the British Medical Journal, state how an Italian soccer player became infected after colliding heavily with an opponent , which also adds substance to the conflicting argument. Although Matt may pose a threat, the writer feels football is a “mans” game, leading the reader to believe that the game is comprised of ‘blood and guts’ and each time a player steps onto the field, he faces the chance he may not return.
The editorial ‘Kicking in danger’ Herald Sun 5/8/98 (Appendix 2) is a bold, yet stern judgment against Mr. Wall participation, but dwells on his disability expressing deep commiseration. The piece begins with a generalization, “Nobody can reasonably quarrel with the decision of the Victorian Amateur Football Association…” This statement is obviously opinionated not fact, as the word “Nobody” has been used.Instead of incorporating emotion into the issue to persuade
and draw more readers to a way of thinking, only fact should be used, reasoning with the audience, not just telling them that “its wrong because I don’t like it.” Strong language is deliberately used to enhance the argument such as “Deadly Disease” and “Ignores the Reality.” These ‘power words’ are trying to snare the reader, endeavoring to give a sence of urgency and panic, that everybody will contract HIV, when we all know this isn’t the case. Compassion is shown, sympathizing towards Mr. Walls tragedy, despite allowing him to continue may endanger others.
The commentary ‘Why Matt should play on’ Herald Sun 11/8/98 (Appendix 3) substantiates his position as an ammetur footballar and focus’ on the likelihood of Matt infecting others. With this idea in mind a more sympathetic approach is taken, attempting to paint a picture that the reader can relate to. Referring to the Wall’s as a “football family” depicts them as a typical Australian family, leading the audience to assume they are no different to the neighbors next door. The writer justifies his condition using sarcastic humor, “A footballar is more likely to contract HIV during the end of season trip!” As well as this he uses statistics to support his argument, “In the 15 years of the epidemic, there have been millions of sporting contracts world wide and there has not been one documented case of HIV transmission in sport.” Mr. Leigh Johns, a discrimination law practitioner voices his opinion using an emotion tone, aiming to sway the audience finishing with a moving statement such as “should he stop play when experts describe the chance as extremely small.” However Mr. Johns doesn’t supply any fact to strengthen his argument, his thoughts and ideas on the subject are sufficient as he is experienced with a legal side and is also President of the Victorian Aids Council.
The media has followed the HIV in sport debate closely as the Herald Sun’s editorial “Blood sports” is clearly a neutral piece highlighting each contrasting opinion. On the other hand the commentaries from both The Age and the Herald Sun are narrow-minded showing no opposing views or ideas. Although the issue at present has not yet been resolved, both papers sympathize towards Mr. Walls tragedy, despite attempting to influence the audience into there way of thinking.
Year 12 Presentation Of An Issue – Part B
Contention: HIV positive athletes should be eligible to participate in contact sports.
Personally I’m ashamed of the Victorian Amateur Football Association’s attitude towards Mr. Hall medical condition. Not only does there decision seem undoubtedly unfair, it promotes to parents alike that football is a ‘dangerous’ sport. Although I disregarded what was printed in yesterdays papers, many other parents will now be contemplating whether they should enroll there sons, or allow them to continue playing for there local clubs. Reading that rubbish I can’t blame them, these ridiculous circumstances make me laugh, who has ever heard of contracting, HIV/AIDS from playing football?
If anyone has paid any attention to the media in the past few days, they would know that more specialists than can be counted have explained that acquiring HIV on the field is so unbelievably unlikely, it just cant happen. Its like buying one lottery ticket and winning, every single time. Yes, its true HIV is a deadly disease that can be transmitted directly from one person to another through open wounds, but according to Leigh Johns, the President of the Victorian AIDS Council, the chances of it actually happening are “infinitesimally small…vanishing small. ” A doctor in Monday’s Age was quoted saying “they have more chance being kicked to death by a duck. ” Death by duck bashing, that’s really going to happen!.. yet with a flood of similar statistics, it concerns me you still cringe when you hear the words ‘HIV’ and ‘Football’ in the same sentence. Australian rules football is a rough contact sport, and footballers already take significant risks every time they step onto the field.
When in-retrospect players are probably far more likely to die as a result of injury than by contracting AIDS. Not known to the public how Matt obtained the disease, it’s leaves his HIV status open to question of …is he a homosexual? …is he a heroin user? …does he practice safe sex?
This is a blatant invasion of Mr. Walls or anyone else in a similar position’s private life. Is it any of Melbourne’s business? Not at all! Nobody, should suffer discrimination because they are unfortunate enough to contract HIV. Under The Federal and Victorian Anti-Discrimination Act, it clearly highlights specifically, the discrimination on the basis of disability (including HIV) in clubs, associations and in sport is prohibited . I hope he sues, that will shut them up, throw a spanner into the works, although on the other hand if he does infect somebody they can sue the league for negligence…This is a can of worms they wish they had never opened!
On last weeks Footy Show he went public and talked of his disability “I stood up in front of the entire team, I told them the facts, that I was HIV positive, they supported me. ” Banning Mr. Hall will not only encourage players to keep quite, it will discourage others from being tested, knowing a positive result will deem themselves unfit to continue playing. The man should be commended on his honesty, if I was in his position I wouldn’t of said a thing! Once again Mr. Leigh Johns announced “a footballar has a greater chance contracting the disease on the end of season trip. ” Are football officials now going to prohibit clubs from having end of season trips, because there’s chance of contracting AIDS?… I don’t think so! leave the poor bloke alone, football is an Australian passion and should be enjoyed by all.
Angry Football Fanatic
Pasco Vale Heights