Sunday 4 December 2016

Sinead Kissane: Brolly undermining his top-class analysis with attention-seeking caricature

Published 28/08/2015 | 02:30

Joe Brolly is in a privileged position as an analyst with one of the most loved programmes in our country. But the privilege brings with it a responsibility to act somewhat appropriately
Joe Brolly is in a privileged position as an analyst with one of the most loved programmes in our country. But the privilege brings with it a responsibility to act somewhat appropriately

Referees and the Rose of Tralee have been easy targets for Joe Brolly this week. He tweeted: "They want Rose of Tralee coverage, instead of the real stuff discussed by GAA folk in the stands and bars" following GAA President Aogán O Fearghail's comments that 'The Sunday Game' has become "predictable" and "tiresome" in its negativity.

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Not even the lovely girls competition can escape Brolly's wicked tongue.

Just like Daniel O'Donnell shaking his booty on live TV during the Rose of Tralee last week, Brolly knows all about performing for the cameras. I imagine when the red light goes on in the RTE studio, he's in his own version of a red light district: nothing's off limits and anything goes. And for the absolute hoot of it, he throws a verbal grenade into the mix every now and again just to get a good old-fashioned frenzied reaction and get #joebrolly trending.

The latest offering from the rent-a-quote machine landed last Sunday when Brolly claimed referee Maurice Deegan "did something to Tyrone that normally happens between consenting adults in private".

What a cheap gag. And what a wholly inappropriate one.

Or am I missing the point here? Should we all just laugh along with Brolly after a comment like this? Wasn't the little rascal only having a bit of banter on live TV? Do I need to lighten up? No we shouldn't. No he wasn't. And no I don't.

Brolly manages to undermine his otherwise excellent analysis with controversial (and maybe even premeditated) lines which ridicule a person rather than straighten-out an issue. It's incomprehensible how he thought it was fair game earlier this summer to say Cavan football "is as ugly as Marty Morrissey".

Brolly has passion, ability to articulate an argument and acute understanding and knowledge of the game.

But don't become a caricature, Joe.

One of the most annoying habits of some TV pundits is the way they descend into becoming the public's one-dimensional perception of them.

It seems if a pundit is renowned for being controversial, they start to get off on being as controversial as they can be without the necessary and reasoned arguments to back-up their views.

It comes off as entirely self-serving and egotistical. The pundit seems to lose all perspective of why they're on TV in the first place when they start playing up to the gallery.

Brolly doesn't need to lower himself to that level because he always has astute points to make. His controversial comments have all the stink (as opposed to the word "smell" which is getting a bad rep in GAA circles lately) of attention-seeking about them.

Brolly is in a privileged position as an analyst with one of the most loved programmes in our country. But the privilege brings with it a responsibility to act somewhat appropriately.

He delivered a complete over-the-top and mindless comment two years ago with his "in so far as he's a man, you can forget about it" line about Sean Cavanagh after his tackle on Conor McManus (for which Brolly later apologised).

It can't work both ways. How can Brolly question a player's morality, and a couple of seasons later indulge in name-calling?

I'm helping to feed the monster here with this piece. It's two days before the All-Ireland semi-final between Dublin and Mayo and here I am talking about a person who talks about the game.

Pundits should get the plaudits when they're insightful. Not when they engage in provocative ridiculing of a person.

As always, I'll look forward to Brolly's analysis this weekend. He brings a colour and energy to the RTE coverage which undoubtedly enhances our experience of it, whether you agree with him or not.

Bring your character into our living-rooms again on Sunday, Joe. But not your caricature.

Irish Independent

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