Another uncharacteristic sport post (it contains references to ableism):
Cricket Australia is a finalist for a National Disability Award from International Day of People with Disability – Australia.
(“The ground-breaking National Cricket Inclusion Championships (NCIC) featured three divisions: blind and vision impaired, deaf and hard of hearing and cricketers with an intellectual disability.”)
Yet the cricketers and wider cricket spokespeople, and media, are showing very little respect to disabled people – to the very people they’re claiming to include.
Former cricketer, Stuart MacGill made an ableist slur last week, and it made news.
“Ashes selections … made by morons masquerading as mentors. Times up gents,” Stuart Macgill wrote on Twitter.
The top story on news.com.au last Friday had a disability slur – it shows the low level of respect sport and media has for disabled people.
A number of media outlets reported on this story (here’s one).
Today I was alerted to a video of cricket’s worst sledges of all time, created and distributed by FOX Sports Australia:
The R word is featured.
This is everyday ableism. This is hate speech.
Cricket Australia has a policy committed to disability inclusion.
“Cricket Australia is committed to enabling access to sport for all Australians regardless of ability.”
Yet when Stuart Macgill uses “moron” in a statement, or the R word is used considered a best sledge, cricket doesn’t seem very welcoming to disabled people.
Its players and associates should follow this policy – especially if it’s being seen as a leader in disability access and inclusion. And it would be good to know how cricket Australia and teams are educating and following up on these slurs. I’m happy to provide training.
Additionally, the Australian media has access to guidelines around reporting disability, but okayed disability slurs to be published.
When you use a disability slur – to disabled and non disabled people – you’re saying disabled people are less than, othered, not equal. You are implying the disabled people have low intellect. You use disabled people as the punchline of a joke.
On a recent episode of You Can’t Ask That, people with Down syndrome spoke about how they are hurt and scared when disability slurs are spat at them. One participant, Leigh Creighton described people driving past him, yelling out “you f—ing r-tard” – and believes there needs to be more education “to stop the r-word, to stop the bullying.”
It’s time disability slurs were not laughed off or gone un-reprimanded, especially when they’re used by leaders and the media. It’s especially not welcoming to their disabled players and fans.
Blokes having a laugh and a bit of biffo on the sporting field comes at a cost to how disabled people are seen and feel about ourselves.
Here’s Kaitlyn Plyley on why it’s not ok to use casual ableism like disability slurs.
(I have emailed Cricket Australia and the National Disability Day Awards about this issue)