The WPBSA have now made public Ding Junhui’s £250 fine for swearing in his post match press conference at the World Championship – as revealed by this blog earlier this week.

I hope this leads to the reporting of all disciplinary cases. One of the central tenets of any justice system is that justice is not only done but is seen to be done.

Ding's punishment is in line with Mark Allen's £250 fine for swearing in a UK Championship press conference. In fact, £250 is the going rate for swearing at tournaments.

Mark Williams was fined £3,000 for his expletive-driven remarks about the Crucible, but this was on Twitter and so outside the tournament guidelines (although still excessive in my view).

Ding had been 9-6 up to Ryan Day and lost 10-9. I’m sure his swearing was not pre-meditated but the reaction of a hurt and disappointed player, interviewed just minutes after his defeat.

For this reason, I’m sure leniency was considered but I understand the fine came about because a member of the public – who watched the press conference on Youtube – contacted the WPBSA to complain. I’m guessing they have a lot of time on their hands.

Gratuitous swearing is boorish and the sign of a poor vocabulary but the term ‘bad language’ is a misnomer.

In the right hands, swearing can be gloriously inventive. In their time both Chaucer and Shakespeare used ‘curse’ words. In the right context, swearing is not only appropriate but essential: imagine The Wire without a single swear word.

True, at the snooker table or in the press conference room it is generally not appropriate but a player getting knocked out of the World Championship, when they are one of the favourites to win the whole thing, has the right to feel peeved (not a swear word).

Ding’s swearing may have offended some but it was a display of genuine passion. It was real. There were no meaningless platitudes, only visceral anger in the moment of defeat.

For the authorities, it is a tricky balancing act. It is entirely right that the WPBSA keeps order in the sport and that the players, as professionals with responsibilities to snooker, play ball.

But we must be careful the game doesn’t become so crowded by rules and notions of etiquette that the players are forced to become automatons, mouthing bland PR epithets rather than being themselves - for good or bad.


Anonymous said...

Seems right to fine him. Otherwise it would be another case of different rules for different people.

Roland said...

Doesn't seem right to me anon.

There's a world of difference between Ding's stroppy post loss "fucking rubbish" and the aggressive utterances of Mark Allen at the UK, or the squirm in your seat antics of Ronnie in the Chinese presser a few years back pretending the microphone was his penis.

The swear word shouldn't be the reason for the fine, the (over)use and intent of the word should be. But unfortunately the world doesn't run on common sense, it runs on busybodies "taking offence" to something they see on Youtube and reporting to the authorities who then have to be seen to act. How anyone was offended by Ding in that presser is utterly baffling. And not only that, it's not even his native language so the word in question will be something he's picked up from those around him i.e. other snooker players!

Saying that, it would be different again if it happened in a pre-watershed live tv interview, that's when you're asking for trouble with swearing. But post-watershed and in press conferences, you want the players to be free to express themselves within socially acceptable boundaries without fear of recrimination otherwise as Dave has mentioned you will get automatons being mindful to toe the line and say what they think you want to hear without being controversial and giving us something to talk about or giving away valuable insights into their real character.

I have to wonder, would Mark Williams have been fined for his "shitting myself" comments immediately after the 2003 World final if they occurred today? If so then we're heading in the wrong direction.

Anonymous said...

Aparently, David Cameron and OFCOM have deemed that "twat" is not a swear word in Britain. This word can be incorporated into a snooker player's vocabulary in a number of different ways:

1) Instead of a "shot to nothing", we can have "just twat the ball and hope for the best".

2) "I was a dumb twat for taking on that shot"

3) "Ronnie O'Sullivan is a genius, but he's still a twat" (courtesy of Michael Holt)

4) "Mark Williams was fined for what he twat about The Crucible"

5) "Ronnie was awesome, I was getting utterly twatted out there"

You see—there are plenty of ways to express yourself without swearing!

Anonymous said...

my vocab would be even poorer if i dropped one less word out of it. f*ck is my fav.

Anonymous said...

My granny used to say to me,if you have to swear to get a laugh...your a c*nt!

Anonymous said...

Mark Allen is Irish and has a full grip and understanding of the culture and over his own native language. Ding Junhui don't have the same benefit when competing away from China and giving interview to British press in a language that is not his own. In the 2005 UK Championship final Steve Davis missed a pot and can clearly be heard on my TV set saying "For F*** sake". This was never brought up and he was not fined. The F word while not right during live press interviews I can understand for someone like Ding were English is not his first language the use of the F word does not have the same connotation to him. As a Chinese myself the equivelent to the F word in my own native language would never have been uttered to the press or to people other than close friends or familars. My mother whose English is not that good uses the F words a lot because she hears it a lot from others and felt it is easier to express her views in part because others find her likeable and everyone laughs about her colourful language. However to fine Ding for swearing when clearly he does not grasp the full understanding and culture in which the language is epressed I find completely wrong. Even in the English language certain words while have similar meaning can be considered offensive depend on which part of the country you are in so how can you expect a young guy from China locked up in a snooker hall in Sheffield most hours of the day, go home at night and watch Games of Thrones and get fined for using languages he adopted? World Snooker need to get a grip and embrace internationalisation and not judge everything with a closet view.

Anonymous said...

He has lived in the UK for almost a decade. We wouldn't tolerate a 5 year old using the F word so we won't tolerate it from a 25 year-old who has spent over a third of his life in this country.