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What David Warner should have said to Quinton de Kock

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I admire Candice Falzon for many reasons. Here are at least some of them: a 150-to-200-metre run, a 300-metre swim, a 500-metre board paddle and a 600-metre ski paddle. Sometimes six or seven events a day.

All up, Falzon, now married to cricketer David Warner, won 19 medals at Surf Life Saving Australia national championships, and in 1999, as a teenager, won the NSW Ironwoman championship.

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She competed for 14 years straight in SLSA competitions and last year, she competed in the Coolangatta Gold. For the record, some of the Coolangatta Gold is running on sand.

Also, in 2007, Falzon had a toilet cubicle encounter with (at that time) the hottest man in rugby league, Sonny Bill Williams; and was seen, just three hours later, with his teammate Ben Roberts.

This is a woman in charge of her own desire. Perfect. What we normally hear about women and sex is that they are victims of sexual assaults. That's the victim conversation. But Candice Falzon made active choices.

Now, men do that kind of stuff all the time – at least the stuff that's in the second paragraph anyway - and they think they are awesome when they do. As to the first paragraph, the running, swimming, paddling things, not so many and I personally don't know many who can achieve half of what Falzon achieved during her time as a top surf life saving athlete. And she was an achiever as a young teenager. Running on sand. Try that for a lark.

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Yet, here we are, in 2018 and athletes from my second favourite sport (Go Bunnies) are talking about the former Ms Falzon, now Mrs Warner, as if she were someone's property. For the record, she is not anyone's property and her sexual encounters from over a decade ago are irrelevant. She was a successful athlete, now a business woman, has two small children with cute names and is married to a cricketer who behaves badly but plays cricket very well, David Warner.

Here's what happened. Warner is out there batting in the second cricket Test against South Africa and Quinton de Kock is SA's wicketkeeper. They are rude to each other. Later in a stairwell, de Kock makes some pathetic remarks about the toilet cubicle incident. After the on-field incident, these two men got into a scuffle in the stairwell. 

Seriously. He's 25 years old, representing his country in the second greatest game of all; and the best he can do is to slag off about the sexual history of his opponent's wife.

I can only put it down to jealousy. If I was Quinton de Kock, I'd be jealous of David Warner too.

Quinton de Kock's International Cricket Council rankings have some way to go before he catches Warner, if ever. De Kock is ranked 22 for test cricket, seven for one-dayers and 36th in the lucrative T20. Warner, an old bloke in comparison at 31, is, weight for age, fifth, third and 19; and raking it in.

But de Kock's stupidity is not the only problem. He picked a good target in Warner whose self-control is lacking.

Warner said last week: "I cop it left, right and centre, especially off the field from spectators and I'm used to that and it doesn't bother me . . . but in a proximity of my personal space and from behind me, a comment that was vile and disgusting about my wife, and in general about a lady, was quite poor I felt."

It's true we should defend our family and friends – but that doesn't mean shirt-fronting fools. Falzon is not Warner's property to defend.

Liz Ellis, queen forever of all netball, had it right: "Everyone is focusing on the sledging. What I think is the controversy is that 40 years after the sexual revolution ... 40 years after that in the middle of the #MeToo movement, in the week of International Women's Day, a player's wife is being dragged through the mud because they're attempting to shame her for her past," she said.

"It really does slam home this idea that some Neanderthals have that women are the property of men."

Neanderthals and cricket players.

So, David Warner, the next time someone sledges you about the sexual history of Candice Falzon, repeat this.

"Yeah, she did all that. All that. And afterwards, after all those amazing athletes, she chose me. I'm bloody lucky."

Support your wife's sexual agency and put de Kock in his place. Way down the batting order and struggling to keep his spot as a wicket keeper. You know what to do. Now do it.

Jenna Price is an academic at the University of Technology Sydney and a Fairfax columnist.

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