Rugby League stars such as Bily Slater should not be given the hero tag, says our reporter.
Rugby League stars such as Bily Slater should not be given the hero tag, says our reporter. Warren Lynam

Save 'hero' tag for the deserving, not for sports stars

OPINION: THE word hero gets bandied about a fair bit these days.

An advertisement came on the TV when I was watching rugby league on Foxtel the other night.

It was about two NRL games to be broadcast on Anzac Day.

It urged the public not to forget the great "tradition" of watching those matches.

The Dragons and Roosters have clashed on April 25 since 2002 and the Storm has played the Warriors since 2009.

Honestly, the whole ad made me feel a bit sick to my stomach.

Firstly, it's the issue of using Anzac Day to promote a rugby league match.

This is a day to remember our fallen soldiers, not to try to ramp up TV ratings.

The use of the word tradition; I also found that offensive.

Traditionally we remember the lives that were lost on that date - surely the "tradition" of watching a certain rugby league match pales in comparison.

Don't get me wrong - I love league.

But I wish the advertisement had been more respectful, especially in light of some of the rubbish that gets sprouted when it comes to rugby league.

Often in the media and in the general public, league players are called warriors or heroes.

There's not only a certain risk in doing that - for example in the case of exiled fullback Josh Dugan, who at the moment is no one's hero.

There is also some inherent insult - by not saving those venerated words for those who deserve them the most.

Many sport stars are tough, strong and inspiring and they deserve accolades and admiration.

We can marvel at the football abilities of the Cooper Cronks and Billy Slaters.

But when people think of heroes, I wish they would think of the young men who stormed the beaches at Gallipoli.

Calling a football star a warrior or a hero seems ridiculous in comparison.

Surely our most heartfelt words should be saved for the young men who sacrificed themselves for this nation.



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