FINALLY, strong and immediate leadership in the AFL for calling out what is poor crowd behaviour.
For too long in the modern era, people have got away with being able to flex a pointless mob mentality because their actions are faceless and, in their minds, justified because they can.
Booing should have no part in our sporting arenas. It is pure poor form.
Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley called it our for what it is - a shame on all who boo a champion, later redefining this to a shame on all who boo any player.
The post-game response from Essendon fans howling was appalling while Magpie Scott Pendlebury was awarded the Anzac medal for his courage, leadership and spirit during the biggest home-and-away game of the season.
Buckley stepped up and called them out. Had he not, this would still be a mere post-game talking point among endless football commentary - just like the booing of Geelong great Gary Ablett earlier this week - but the immediacy was powerful.
Fans were caught in the act.
It should not matter if Essendon fans felt harshly done by in calls late in a tight game. It should not matter whether you like a player or not. It should not matter if a fan felt they had paid their money and got caught up in the theatre of the game.
These are poor excuses for what is no longer acceptable in our game.
There is no denying what happens at the top has a massive impact at the grassroots. Would you consider booing acceptable or justified in a community game or grand final? How about in junior ranks?
Our leagues in the AFL Goldfields, like other sports across the region, are clear in what behaviour from the sidelines will not be tolerated.
Our leagues, like the AFL, work to promote inclusive, family-friendly environments. Gone should be the days of villainous thuggery as headline acts to pull people through the gate or be targets for abuse.
Yet when crowds swell, it seems that like naughty children, we feel we can be revolting without fear of consequences, including guilt you otherwise might feel for hurling such abuse face-to-face. Really, such an attitude hiding in the masses is cowardly.
How we change this on a large scale needs a cultural shift.
It needs strong leadership. Our community clubs play a big role in this, but we also need to see such leadership on the big stage.
Buckley had a chance to step up in the heat of the moment and while such opportunity is not always afforded, his action was powerful.
It would have been far easier for Buckley to wait for a whinge in a press conference than take on a fiery, full MCG house while thousands watching live at home.
Unfortunately, what was a great football contest has become drowned out in debate on booing.
But this is not a bad thing either.
What happened has people talking and definitely, at the least, make people think twice before unleashing.
This is not about the players we love to hate, or decisions that frustrate us. Pleading such excuses are an easy way to avoid what this behaviour says about you as an individual.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
Have you signed up to The Courier's variety of news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in Ballarat.