Australian Media Overkill On Sam Kerr Court Case

Image: FOX Sports

The darling of Australian women’s soccer, Matildas striker Sam Kerr has again been making headlines but this time for all the wrong reasons.

Kerr is currently facing charges in a London court relating to an incident that occurred last year in which she allegedly used a racial slur against a police officer. Kerr has pleaded not guilty and has been fighting to have the charges dropped.

The episode has been a dark chapter for the soccer star, casting a pall over her illustrious career and threatens to tarnish her colourful image as a national sporting hero.

While the revelation is undoubtedly shocking and disappointing for many of Kerr’s fans and admirers, the Australian media response to the situation seems hugely disproportionate in light of more pressing and newsworthy events affecting communities at home and abroad at the moment.

News outlets were quick to jump on the story and, admittedly, it’s a juicy yarn – ‘Aussie sports star racially abuses police’ – the headlines and columns practically write themselves. It ticks nearly all the boxes for news values, except for timeliness.

The incident occurred 12 months ago and only came to the attention of Australian media as the case finally worked its way through the London courts system to be heard. This is not on-the-pulse reporting here, it is lazy journalism constituting little more than tabloid gossip and clickbait.

Once again, our national media has shown its duplicitous nature in what it reports on and how those stories are framed. Kerr was lauded as a hero when she was kicking goals for Australia in the World Cup, an inspirational role model for little girls everywhere who dream of playing professional sports. Now, she’s easy fodder for a quick story to fill the news cycle.

The story does hold journalistic value; it is the responsibility of journalists to report the news as it comes to hand and likewise, people have a right to be informed. It is inevitable that the matter would be brought to public knowledge. The fact the case was reported is not in question, it is the extent to which it has been wrung through the news cycle that raises eyebrows.

If it comes to a hearing, let Kerr’s case be tried in the court of law, not public opinion.

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