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Alcohol Warne-ing

Sunday 29th March was a day to celebrate; the twitterverse was buzzing, Facebook was groaning, and, since then we’ve been inundated with comments and calls complaining about Shane Warne. Not because he tweeted something racy, not because he’s dating a celebrity, but because he interviewed cricket players after their win on Sunday night and just about the only thing he inquired about was if they going to be drinking to celebrate their World Cup win and for how long.

You can read his comments here.cricket2

We are astounded by the large numbers of people who have reprimanded and criticised Shane Warne and the Australian cricket team for their behaviour and comments. Feedback has ranged from disgusted and disappointed to defensive. Warne’s comments have made headlines in newspapers on radio, TV and online both in Australia and internationally. Well known commentators, health professionals and parents have all taken to social media to join many others lamenting cricket’s booze-soaked culture. Many in the community are calling ‘Warnie’ out for crossing the line. Well done Australia it is great to hear so many people vehemently supporting responsibility with regard to alcohol.

Now we know this article will receive criticism, as it will be seen by some to be wowserism and surely the lads can celebrate their win. There is nothing wrong with someone celebrating with alcohol; however, it’s the blatant misuse of alcohol on TV that’s seriously concerning here. It’s time we showed young people watching sports on TV that great achievements like winning a World Cup don’t have to mean automatically getting sloshed. We want to encourage role models to show young people who love playing sport that getting drunk isn’t the only way to celebrate a win or commiserate a loss.

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But it’s not just about role models. Our issues around sport and alcohol in Australia are more systemic.

For years now, we in the public health arena have called for the removal of the advertising loophole which enables alcohol advertising during live sport regardless of the time of day and whether or not children are watching.

Surely this tsunami of vitriol and concern following ‘Warnie’s’ comments must convince legislators that it’s time to remove the loophole and restrict advertising of alcohol on all media – including TV, newspapers and cinemas plus the removal of advertising in outdoor settings.

Or why not just ban alcohol advertising entirely?