Way back when, you will recall, when it was found that North Melbourne's star player Wayne Carey had shtooped a teammate's missus – in fact, his best mate – Australia reeled in horror.
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"It has been a shocking twelve months," a Herald-Sun reader and North Melbourne supporter, would tearfully write. "First 9/11 ... and now this."
Within the confines of the Kangaroos, of course, the reaction was even stronger: so overwhelmingly condemnatory that Carey would never pull on the famous jersey again, and never play again on the same team as the mate he had betrayed.
For of course, Carey had been caught breaking the First Commandment of Australian Matehood: "Thou shalt NEVER do the wild thing with your mate's partner."
Betray your own wife, and root yourself stupid with every willing woman you can find, including those who are married? No problem whatsoever with the team. "Hero!" "Legend!" "WARNEY!"
Tell us about it at the bar?
But exactly the same thing with a teammate's wife, thus breaching male property law? Gone a million. And Carey really was.
(A decision by the way, I agreed with. For there was no way around the fact that whilesoever Carey remained in that dressing room – no matter the rights and wrongs of who did what to whom, when – it was going to be a toxic environment, with a lot more on its mind than football.)
And now, in recent days, of course, we have seen overtones of the Carey imbroglio with the news that not only had the one-time wife of one former footballer, Billy Brownless, been in a relationship with another former footballer in Garry Lyon, but now that Brownless has found out, there has been hell to pay between the two now media teammates.
(And of course it's none of our damn business, but, let's face it, if we don't so discuss we will be the only ones refraining between Darwin and the Derwent, Parrama-tatta and Perth.)
For her, "what's infuriating ... is the reaction from the football world, which seems intent on reinforcing regressive, outdated ideas about mateship, 'off-limits' women and the folly of cutting another bloke's lunch".
She quotes, an online commenter citing the Lyon affair as a "c--- act. Regardless of marital status, your lifelong best mate and any wives/daughters are off-limits."
(Told yers. For the Second Commandment of Mateship covers the fact that coveting daughters of mates is absolutely forbidden. The Third Commandment does allow one mate to "covet and pursue congress with another mate's sister, but ONLY if you subsequently go on to marry them".)
Ford's point was that when Sam Newman outrageously and unforgivably groped on the Footy Show a mannequin dressed like football journalist Caro Wilson, the football world thought it hilarious.
"But, steal another man's wife? That's a 'c--- act' and you should expect to be booed for it. It's this paternalistic attitude to relationships that seems particularly gross in this critique."
For an entirely fresh perspective that no one else in the sporting journalistic world thought to cover – or none that I have seen – Ford looked at it from the perspective of the women involved.
(I know. Took me by surprise, too.)
"Nicky Brownless," Ford wrote, "doesn't belong to her ex-husband and she's as entitled as anybody else to make informed decisions about her relationships, particularly when those decisions are directly connected to her own happiness."
Most devastatingly, she drew a parallel with the current shit-storm over who should and shouldn't sleep with who, with the complete lack of criticism from the football world when last year Brownless referred to a passing mother and daughter at a junior football event as "strippers," because ... "those women didn't belong to anyone important so I guess it doesn't matter".
If I was the football world at this point – and I am, in fact, a voting citizen – I would throw down my weapons and come out with my hands up. I think she has got us surrounded.
But, Clementine Ford being Clementine Ford, even such surrender wouldn't save us.
"You don't need to look very far in the AFL to find ... examples of fans, players and commentators rallying behind men embroiled in rape allegations (almost all of which are dismissed salaciously as 'sex scandals'). Cut another man's lunch though, and it's to the doghouse for you."
I'll pause for a moment to allow us all to shift uncomfortably.
"Brownless," she predicts of the coverage over the next few days, "will be the victim betrayed by his best friend, and all we'll learn once again is that the world of football belongs to men and women are just the trophies they've won along the way."
All up, I felt a little the same as I did when another female journalist I like and admire, Virginia Trioli, chipped me from raging against Nick Kyrgios for his outrageous sledging of Stan Wawrinka, when he said that "Kokkinakis banged your girlfriend, sorry to tell you that mate".
La Trioli was herself without mercy in response to my thunderously condemnatory column.
"@Peter_Fitz," she tweeted, "But why is it 'the worst thing you can say' to imply that a woman has been with someone else, and not yours alone?"
I take her point.
But, so shoot me, I STILL reckon it was a bloody outrageous thing for Kyrgios to do.
And it would equally surprise me if Lyon and Brownless can happily work together again.
Ford's points are incontrovertibly and uncomfortably fair. But that friendship is finished.