Tracy Grirmshaw vs. Matty Johns

Published 23 May 2008

The most stunning television I’ve seen for a very long time was on Channel Nine last week. You can’t handle the truth?  Mate, I can’t handle the truth.

If you haven’t watched Grimshaw’s interview with ‘rugby league superstar” and ‘television personality’ Matthew Johns don’t walk but run to watch it online.  Grimshaw should win a Walkley or possibly the Nobel Prize For Calling A Spade A Rapist. This interview should be on the syllabus of every school.

Seven years ago Matthew Johns and a bunch of his teammates had sex with a 19-year-old girl. Four Corners did a story on the epidemic of group sex involving football teams and interviewed the girl who named Johns.  A Current Affair followed up with one of the most harrowing interviews I’ve ever seen.  I sobbed.  For the victim, the state of football and the mess many of our menfolk are in and that the rest of us are enabling.

Johns repeated the terms “willing participant” “the hurt and embarrassment caused to my wife and family” and used the word “unsavory” to describe what was clearly a spiritual gang rape without showing an iota of compassion to the victim. Grimshaw dismantled the familiar rhetoric with precision that left me breathless. After explaining he’d left the room at one point and then returned to check, “everything was okay” Grimshaw replied, “You see Matthew, most right thinking people would be thinking how could you look at that scenario and see anything was okay. She was 19 years old.  She was naked. And she was outnumbered…..Isn’t there something in your mind that said this is wrong, on every level? This is a vulnerable woman.  She wants more from this situation than we’ll ever be able to give her.”

It was this that unraveled me.

“Lets say she offered herself.  If I suggested to you the women who do that are looking to feel special for a while.  They see you all as sports Gods and they want a little bit of your fame and adulation and your specialness to rub off on them…Did it occur to you that that girl laying on the bed was somebody’s sister someone’s daughter, a girl with hopes and dreams and aspirations of her own?’

John’s wife Trish’s take was,  “His crime is infidelity to me as his wife and I am the only person who can judge him on that.” When asked, “How do you view this girl?” Trish answered, “I certainly wouldn’t like it to be my daughter.”  The look on Trish’s face seemed to say, “She’s a slut who’s stuffed up our lives, ruined my husband’s reputation and my life with it.”  When she said, “I’m glad she’s not my daughter” it may have been unclear to some but crystal to me that she didn’t mean, “because of what that poor girl went through” but “because I would be humiliated.”

I didn’t think Grimshaw had it in her to go one of the most alpha of the alpha males on Australia’s biggest embarrassment Channel Nine.  But she did.  Take a bow Tracey Grimshaw.


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