Posted by Tom Bridge
You’ve all seen the photo by now I’d say, put first on Facebook, but now all over the internet and in newspapers across the country. It’s a photo showing Kenrick Monk posing with two guns across his torso, two very high-powered guns in fact. Beside Mr Monk in the photo was a young man, also no stranger to trouble, Nick D’Arcy. The photo has since caused a storm of debate and threatens to end the Olympic hopes of both D’Arcy and Monk, with our London Olympics Chef de Mission Nick Green not ruling out throwing the two swimmers off the Australian team for bringing the sport and the team into disrepute.
But is this such a hideous breach of standards of decency and sensible behaviour to warrant such strong action against the two Queenslanders? It was certainly silly, but it seems much of the media and the public, for the most part don’t particularly care so much to take any action against the two men who were in the USA training at the time.
First, a bit of context, guns, pretty much any of them are so incredibly legal and easily accessible that you can pretty easily get your hands on just about any firearm you can think of, regardless of how much it may be overkill for the way in which you choose to use it- I don’t need to say I’m only talking about the legal methods.
So really, it’s not unusual in the first instance that D’Arcy and Monk were able to go somewhere which sells guns and pick up, for photographic purposes two powerful weapons perfectly legal in America.
The major issue with the photo for me too is not the fact that the photo was taken, but rather the nature of the photo. Frankly it just looks incredibly stupid. The way the guns are crossed across Monk’s body looks very hillbilly, very redneck, like they are at least inadvertently glamourising the gun culture in the US, a nation with an incredibly high number of gun related deaths in any given year.
The two Australian swimmers are both from Queensland so this too will inevitably lead to yokel jokes abounding from south of the border when it clicks with the do-gooders from southern states. Equally too, we could blame the chlorine for sapping their brain cells. I have, as a former swimmer myself used that excuse for stupidity before.
As was mentioned earlier, these two gents do not have a great history in the eyes of the law and this has inevitably clouded the way in which they are being judged for their actions this week.
Monk confessed to lying about being involved in a hit-and-run accident when he had indeed just fallen off his skateboard and hurt himself and Nick D’Arcy, well he went to court for giving former swimmer Simon Cowley an almighty whack at the end of the 2008 Olympic trials, an act which saw him booted off the team not all that long after being named in it.
So in the scheme of things this was a minor infraction from two young men who have done much more stupid things. Yes, they may well have breached social media policy for the team, but with the public reaction seeming to be restrained for the most part in response to this act of stupidity could it really be argued strongly that their actions brought the sport and the team into disrepute? Yes, it got published in the media and there was a wave of attention brought toward D’Arcy and Monk and the team for stupidity, but the wider commentary seems to be, why the big deal?
So for that reason alone, little or no action should be taken against both Kenrick Monk and Nick D’Arcy over their little brain fart and hick-like error in judgement.
Whether or not they should have been present in the team in the first place or whether they will continue to make silly decisions is another story.