S Letter


Dear S,

I was intrigued when I received your email this morning, both by the entitlement of demanding a reply from me, while also being both condescending and insulting, and also utterly incorrect. I’m not usually in the habit of replying to such emails, but since you were so eager to hear my responses, I figured you probably wouldn’t mind if I did so publicly.

I read your comments in an article on Triple j’s Hack website regarding the pay rates of women’s football (AFL), and was struck by your lack of understanding of the issue, in which you are certainly not alone.

Ok, I admit, this was a good opening. What didn’t I understand? I’ve spent fifteen years studying and writing about sport and sporting institutions, but hey, we all make mistakes. So I was eager to see what you had to say.

Professional AFL footballers are paid on a commission basis,

Wait, no they aren’t. They are paid a salary. Yes, there are bonuses that align with performance, but there are also base salaries.

they negotiate salary caps with the league as a percentage of projected income,

Hmm, have you read the news lately? There is talk about the next deal being proportionate to the TV deal, but that’s not the case currently. I’m starting to wonder if you’ve read the Collective Bargaining Agreement, which is where all my information comes from.

the individual pay rates are then decided by the clubs and individual players, resulting in players being paid at a rate similar to their revenue raising skills.

Well… yes, there are negotiations between the clubs and players, but there are also standard minimum payment rates and conditions that are established in the collective bargaining agreement, both for Rookies (who were my point of comparison on Hack) and drafted players.

This is decided by the best people to do so, those putting on the show and those running it,

Hmm, hundreds of years of labour negotiations would suggest that employers alone aren’t the best people to determine wages…

your angle has no validity at all, you are talking about cutting male players wages, or benefits to junior football, neither of which is desirable or forward moving.

I didn’t say anything about cutting male player’s wages (though whether that’s undesirable to correct a 1:39 average pay discrepancy is highly subjective).

It strikes me as strange that you don’t understand this, given that you have a job you should understand the different ways people are paid and the reasons for this.

Well, my job is as a freelance writer who writes about sport, so my understanding is rather more based on research into this specific issue than the assumption my experience is universal.

I find myself questioning your motives, as I find your comments so naive or perhaps stupid.

Or perhaps just based in the actual facts about the way players are paid.

I would like to receive a reply from you to explain your view, particularly in relation to the points I make in this e-mail, I find them obvious, I would like to know why you don’t, after all you put your view out to the public, so please defend it.

Can I make a recommendation? Next time, before you email someone, maybe do a bit more research to make sure a) your “corrections” are, in fact, correct and b) make sure you’ve read the other things the person you’re writing to has written, as they may have already answered some of your questions. Also, maybe don’t call someone stupid when you, in fact, are incorrect.

Thanks for reading, I look forward to your reply.
Sincerely, S[redacted].

I hope you have found it instructive.

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