I have been absolutely disgusted by the common abuse and outright hostility on display by both sides both during and after the 1st test. Whilst all the media focus has been on Australian players (i.e. Clarke and Warner), it would appear that English players are also just as guilty, if it is the case that Anderson threatened to punch Bailey. Regardless of which side these players represent or which side is the more guilty, these players should be banned - forever. It is revolting. It is clear that so called "sledging" has become more than just humourous banter. It has been allowed to degenerate into common abuse, outright hostility, and nastiness. What kind of example does this set to our children? It is simply not acceptable and the ICC need to ban it. A few years ago, a local man in our area was beaten unconscious by a gang of out of control feral youths. He died as a result of the attack. He was killed by a mindless act of violence by children who clearly had lost all respect for authority. At the trial, it became pretty clear to me that a contributory factor in the loss of respect had been the appalling example that has been set by some so called sports 'stars' who are supposed to act as role models - mainly footballers. Well, they are role models - role models for bad behaviour and open contempt for rules and authority.
In the UK, we have long had to live with the appalling example set by many footballers, but at least that game has been trying to put its house in order in recent years (i.e. the punishment handed down to John Terry, the crackdown on racism, etc). But, now it appears that the disease is spreading to cricket. I am disgusted that Australian TV have apologised for exposing Michael Clarke's appalling behaviour, and failing to report James Anderson's alleged behaviour at the time that it occurred. What they are saying is that they should have covered up for breaches of the rules. Absolutely disgusting. If players break the rules, then you report it to the authorities. You don't cover it up and allow it to continue. That way, the mindless morons think they can get away with it, continue, and then it degenerates even further into something even worse (which it obviously has).
I also note from Darren Lehmann and Peter Siddle's comments today, and the activities of the gutter press, that they seem to think that common abuse and outright hostility is a legitimate tactic for winning, and that it is okay to literally win at all costs. Well, it isn't. There is a word for this kind of behaviour - it's called cheating. There is only one legitimate way to win and that is to play the best cricket on the pitch. Mitchell Johnson's match winning bowling (and I would add, his impressive batting) is the way to go (and nobody has any problem with good honest, tough hard cricket). The role of sport is to foster good relations between people, communities, areas, countries, whatever, and to set a good example to the next generation in how to behave fairly (and win/lose fairly). The example being set by Mr Lehmann, Mr Siddle, and the gutter press, is the complete opposite. What they are saying is that personal attacks, common abuse, threats of violence, and outright hostility is absolutely fine and a legitimate tactic for winning. Clearly, it is not. And if that is the way things are going, then clearly the sport is no longer worth playing, as it then becomes more of a problem for society, than a benefit.
It has become obvious in recent times that the Australian and English teams absolutely detest each other. That is the fault of the ICC for allowing the more unsavoury elements in both teams to get away with abusing each other over a long period of time. That appalling behaviour by players and the attitude of the gutter press is setting an appalling example to our children. Accordingly, I think we should make this the final Ashes series. Its continuation would cause far more problems than it is worth, and it no longer acts as a vehicle for fostering good relations between both countries. On the contrary, as things stand, it is poisoning relations and generating ill will.
In terms of finishing the current series, the ICC need to send a strong and unequivocal message to both sides that common abuse, threats of violence, and open hostility will no longer be tolerated and that if anybody is found to be guilty of it in future, then they will receive a lifetime ban from cricket. The ICC also need to eliminate the hostile atmosphere that seems to have pervaded this series, and the media regulators in both countries need to start prosecuting media outlets that have been trying to whip up the hostility levels. I am sure that there are some within the cricketing and media fraternities who have been whipping up the hostility levels deliberately to generate interest in the series, and make it more profitable. Capitalism is no excuse, because society as a whole ends up paying for it in the end in terms of violent crime and juvenile delinquency
Let's make this the final Ashes series. I certainly would not want this kind of sporting event going to England in 2015, where the mindless morons that run the British gutter press try to create a similarly hostile environment for the Australians, so that they can 'give it back' and 'reap the whirlwind' as it were. At some point, this kind of nonsense has to stop, and it should end by making this the final Ashes series.
In terms of the outcome of the current series? I couldn't care less. For me, it has already been irretrievably tarnished by the appalling behaviour of both sides. They are as bad as each each. There are no heroes in this - just villains - poster people and role models for disgusting behaviour. As stated, it sets an appalling example for our children, and society ends of paying for it in the end with mindless acts of violence and juvenile delinquency.