While the rest of the football world has been universal in their condemnation of Chris Judd, I think we should cut the Carlton champ some slack.
Never before has the tall-poppy syndrome been more evident than in the vitriol levelled at Judd this week - with people labelling his crude attempt to wrench the arm of North Melbourne's Leigh Adams 'weak', a 'dog act' and all sorts of other footy-isms that get trotted out when someone has outraged the collective known as the 'football public'.
Seeing the incident in real time, I couldn't work out what the hell had gone on - only really noticing the furore after the North players had remonstrated with Judd afterwards.
On replay, it looks bad - no question.
But to my mind it's a brain fade borne out of frustration, not indicative of any deep-seated character flaws like so many have been keen to pin on the dual Brownlow Medallist with this week.
Let's not forget, Chris Judd is a ball player - a clean player, who makes the ball his sole objective week after week.
Yet, probably from his second game at West Coast, he's had some mongrel hanging off him week after week trying to prevent him from doing what he does best - someone with no intention other than to destroy his game.
Last year, Joel Selwood was given a four-match ban for cracking Hawthorn's Brent Guerra, perforating his ear-drum.
The Geelong champ followed that up this season with a retaliatory strike on Brisbane's Andrew Raines that was lucky to go unpunished.
Yet no one seems as keen to hit Selwood with the kind of commentary Judd has had to deal with this week.
Is Judd more deserving of criticism because he is sneaky about it (his eye gouge on Campbell Brown, his elbow on Matthew Pavlich) rather than take the Selwood approach and just come straight out and belt blokes?
One colleague of mine has gone on record as declaring Judd's indiscretions lessen his status as a champion of our game, and another believes he let his coach Brett Ratten down at a crucial stage of the season by his undisciplined act.
Both viewpoints are valid - but let's not forget: Leigh Matthews was voted as our game's greatest player ever, and he was responsible for more concussions than George Foreman.And, if not for Judd, I doubt very much whether Ratten would still be coaching Carlton anyway.
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