JOHANNESBURG - There is a terrible culture emerging from one of our broadcasters and we have to talk about it. You might have your own story detailing how annoyed you have been lately with pay-TV channel SuperSport cutting away into the crowds during live PSL matches for no real reason other than objectifying women in the stands.
I’ve noticed it several times before and it was irritating to begin with, but I think we all let it slide because it was “a different angle”.
But on Sunday afternoon while watching the league clash between Baroka FC and Kaizer Chiefs, this new way of beaming the match stopped being innovative.
There I was, sitting back after a lovely lunch that’s usually complemented by some good local football, when there were breasts on my television screen - at 4pm on a Sunday.
What was I watching? An X-rated movie?
No, I was trying to enjoy what looked like a thriller of a match between two teams that never disappoint when taking each other on given their dynamics lately.
But I spent half the time moaning, taking to social media to condemn the disgraceful acts of the cameramen, who I was immediately told by my fellow Twitter enthusiast that they were only following orders from the producers.
If yanking the cameras away from the live action to feed their fantasies and parade the “slay queens” in the VIP booths is a different take on broadcasting, then the product is regressing at an alarming rate. I would not be surprised if there is money set aside by corporates to get the average South African football fan to the stadium, have them sing their lungs out, blow their vuvuzelas and cheer their teams on.
We have accepted this as part of an SA experience when it comes to enjoying our beautiful game, and I have no issues with them being on my TV screen, occasionally.
After all, football is some form of entertainment and it wouldn’t hurt to see what lengths die-hard fans would go to in backing their teams. But random images of the same people in expensive seats, constantly looking at their smartphones and showing no interest in what is happening on the pitch is not what our game is all about.
I have even heard a rival commentator on SABC apologise to the viewers for missing a goal or a significant moment in the match because SuperSport, who control the feed, spotted something in the stands - usually a dashing female fan taking a selfie - that is more urgent and interesting than the real reason we are watching.
I really am not making this up. I am a concerned fan of the product, a paying subscriber to DStv and someone who cares deeply about our football as a journalist.
But the behaviour of these cameramen and their producers has to be reprimanded. As if it’s not enough that we are constantly criticising the officiating in the game and the poor attendance at some PSL matches, we are now also wasting our energy on pleading with broadcasters to remember that football is a family show?
Our children watch the game and real fans are the true ambassadors of the game. But SuperSport have lately been bringing our game into disrepute. Please stop.