The Ashes offers many fun subplots as the summer goes on. Some of those are between players, some from the fans and some comes from the press. The Australian press, in particular the Courier Mail, outdid themselves at the start of The Ashes.
First, there was the article that claimed not even Kevin Pietersen's team-mates liked him, and then there was the ban on Stuart Broad. From a journalism perspective, most of the Courier Mail's witterings were quite silly. But, for the most part, it was all quite innocent. From a marketing perspective, it did wonders for people talking about the newspaper.
There was one paper that got things very, very wrong, though. After it was revealed that Jonathan Trott would be leaving the tour due to a stress-related illness, two Australian papers got their approach very, very wrong.
First, The Telegraph led with the headline "Trott does a runner." When it comes to mental struggles, mental illness, there is still a massive misunderstanding surrounding the issue. For a paper to lead with such an insensitive and cruel headline was not only foolish, it was very irresponsible. There is a long way to go when it comes to educating people around the impact mental struggles have on people and to break the stigma around it. The headline from The Telegraph won't help.
The Daily Telegraph opted for something similar, saying "Trott takes his bat and ball and heads home" and only wrote in the blurb of the headline that his decision came after a "he and his teammates were subjected to a brutal barrage from the home side's quick bowlers during the Test loss at the Gabba."
The headline reeked of insensitivity, playing down a serious issue to simply being somebody "packing their bags and leaving." The copy in the blurb is also somewhat misleading and could easily be taken as a suggestion that Trott's condition was caused by the loss alone.
It doesn't stop there. Malcolm Conn still hasn't forgiven the English players for urinating on the pitch during the Ashes in England earlier this year and doesn't think that Andy Flower has any place to talk about standards of leadership, according to Australia's News.com. While his ire is understandable, it's an issue that happened months ago.
To top it all off, a stadium announcer at the match between the England cricketers and a Chairmans' XI in Alice Springs was stood down because he racially mocked Monty Panesar. When Panesar came on to bowl, David Nixon, the announcer, introduced the spinner in an Indian accent.
Nixon is an ABC producer and was given a slap on the wrist on the first day of play for telling Joe Root he can "go and have another drink now" when he got out. The mockery was most likely in reference to the brawl between Root and David Warner during the Ashes series in England.
There are a number of Australian journalists who do a brilliant job at covering the Ashes, with wit, insight and good old-fashioned poking fun at the opposition. However, quite a few have gotten the approach horribly wrong and win themselves November's clown of the month award.