BY CURTIS WOODWARD
Big time fans of professional wrestling know all about the terms ‘good heat’ and ‘go away heat’. Heat is all about the reaction you can get out of a fan.
To explain quickly, someone like The Rock in his prime (when he was a bad guy) could get ‘heat’ out of a crowd by slapping a fan favourite across the face, swearing at the audience or simply by the way he walked, snorted or spat.
On the other hand, there is ‘bad heat’.
As hard as they try, they’re just annoying. In laymam’s terms, they suck at trying to make us hate them and we know it.
And it doesn’t stop with the wrestlers.
Wrestling organisations can be so bad for so long, make so many mistakes and completely ignore their fan base to the point that no matter what they do…the ‘go away heat’ is too strong.
There’s no return.
You can’t keep shitting on your fans and expect them to keep coming back.
Case in point… WCW.
Look them up.
Now compare that to what certain media outlets are doing with their rugby league coverage recently. Specifically, what just happened to that poor family in Queensland.
Three beautiful little kids and their mother were burned alive by a maniacal man that decided to kill his young family and himself.
He’s a lowdown, heinous bastard.
We won’t name him.
Mum, Hannah Baxter and children Lainah, 6, Trey, 3, and Aaliyah, 4 are dead.
As ungodly as it is it should be reported.
So then, others, hundreds of kilometres away behind computers, need to make a decision.
‘How do we report this, team?’
They lean back on their chairs and prod their chins with the back-end of their pens.
Someone in the corner of the room shoots up.
‘This guy played a bit of footy… looks like he got a trial with the New Zealand Warriors fifteen years ago….’
There’s our clicks!
Our advertisers ARE GONNNNNA LOVE IT!
‘Ex-NRL star dies alongside three kids in Brisbane car fire….’
Click, click baby!
The scary part is this isn’t crime reporters… this is a small group of supposed sports writers. And unfortunately, they’ve been copping some ‘go away heat’ for a while before this awful atrocity.
Somewhere… something changed.
Doesn’t really matter if every NRL game is live on your network and you brag that you’re the real home of the game if you’re doing shit like this… right?
Rugby league scribes far more experienced than your writer couldn’t comprehend the coverage. Because it didn’t stop at the first headline. It went on and on and on. The articles kept coming. All the while linking the National Rugby League to a psychopath.
“This is leading the Fox Sports site at the moment,” Phil Lutton tweeted sharing one of the posts.
“It’s just not a sports story in any way, it’s a horrific tragedy where a mother and three little girls were burned to death. The sports link is so tenuous it’s almost non-existent.”
Jon Tuxworth was just as frustrated posting: “Bugger me you people are slow learners @FOXSportsAUS. Read the room FFS. It’s not a sports story, leave it alone.”
Reece Carter from NRL.com, Nine’s Mathew Thompson and Head of Media at the Newcastle Knights Nathan Ryan (formerly Fox Sports) were among those that liked Jon’s tweet.
For total clarity, yours truly wrote a couple of pieces for foxsports.com.au a few years ago under the watchful eye of the very talented Tony Harper.
Mr. Harper finished up with them in April, 2018.
Some would argue that the trajectory of content has…altered… slightly… since he left.
So what are we left with?
A media leviathan that has seemingly decided to go in a different direction.
It’s great for their advertisers in the short term.
But bad heat is bad heat.
Fans aren’t dumb.
The hate is real.
You don’t ask the devil to dance and cut out half way through the song.
Once you go too far there is no turning back.