On Tuesday, Barba was banned from the NRL for life for assaulting his partner and the mother of his four children, Ainslie Currie, at the Townsville casino on Australia Day. The NRL Integrity Unit reviewed CCTV footage showing a physical altercation between the couple before they deregistered him as a player.
In response to the shameful act, former NRL player Lote Tuqiri tweeted: “Say what you want about #BenBarba but today he’s been stripped of something he really loved doing and one of the things he’d be most passionate about. I feel sad for him today! I hope he can find something that fills that void.”
Tuqiri’s initial reaction wasn’t one of disgust at Barba or sympathy for Currie, it was one of pity and encouragement for a man who allegedly threw rocks at the mother of his four little girls.
Why are people so quick to sympathise with men who bash women?
When a footy player assaults a woman in Australia, the response is so often “what about his career and his livelihood.”
When a woman is raped or murdered in Australia, the response is so often “not all men.” Our sympathy is completely misplaced.
How about instead of worrying about fragile male egos, we think about the women who have been bruised, bloodied and murdered at the hands of men?
This isn’t the first time Barba has been accused of violence. In 2013, rumours circulated on social media that he had assaulted Currie, but she denied the allegations at the time. Earlier that year he was put on welfare watch after he drunkenly abused a teammate and had a “nasty spat” with Currie, who was heavily pregnant at the time.
Instead of “feeling sad” for an abuser with a history of violence, drug abuse and gambling problems, Tuqiri should have felt for Currie and her kids. They’re the ones hurting. They’re the ones affected by Barba’s hideous actions.
Barba wasn’t “stripped of something he really loved doing,” he was held accountable for his disgusting behaviour.
No one forced him to abuse his partner. He made that choice.
When called out for his inconsiderate tweet, Tuqiri replied: “Can I just say I am not condoning anything that Ben has done. Insensitive yes! And I agree with the sanctions the NRL handed down and it’s never been ok to be violent towards women. I really just hope from a well being point of view his partner, his family and Ben himself are okay.”
He continued: “I deplore the violence! I feel sorry for the guy who can’t play a game he loves anymore.”
Not once did Tuqiri say Ainslie Currie’s name. He was too busy “feeling sorry” for the bloke who was caught on camera attacking her.
A Twitter user with the handle @PhilGould15 (not the real Phil Gould) had the perfect response to Tuqiri: “Bang on Lote. It’s a sad day when a bloke can’t be in a highly coveted job where he’s a role model to kids just because he’s a degenerate gambler and a domestic abuser.”
Violence against women is unacceptable. Our thoughts are with Currie and her kids.