What the butler saw

I wasn’t there. I don’t know the circumstances, but I’ve seen the film footage and seen the commentators faces, and their look says it all, ‘what the f**k’ is going on?’

I can’t comment on the day in question, you know, the one everyone is talking about at present, however I’ve seen fists fly at other bouts, spectators/team members shouting obscene things and the booing of refs.

As a photographer I am an outsider. I don’t skate, ref or NSO and have no affiliation to any team. The circumstances I have mentioned above are thankfully few and it’s shocking to audiences as it is so rare. Rarer as it isn’t documented. On occasion I have tried to intervene, a few words have checked someone’s behaviour, but more often if try the indirect route to avoid confrontation and discuss the issue with a fellow team member of the perpetrator, I am brushed off with, ‘oh well, they are an arse, they always behave that way’.

On the odd occasion (and they are ‘odd’) when I have caught issues on camera I have often been approached and asked to not publish the images. I say, asked, it’s more of ‘told’ and I am uncomfortable with that. I am uncomfortable with censorship in general.

I am guessing the reason why this incident is causing such a furore is that it was captured, before the feed was cut, and it’s good that it’s opening up discussions. But there are other incidents that aren’t discussed further afield than the teams involved or not discussed at all. Derby tries to maintain its positive image but in doing so censors, censors issues it could learn from.

There are many positive things in Roller Derby, but it is the censorship that I struggle with. Perhaps if you are involved deeper with the sport you don’t see it, or don’t see the issues. But as an observer I struggle with it.

While this incident does not reflect too well on Derby, perhaps opening up the discussion and the realisation that these events happen will have a positive effect.  

I take pictures. On rare occasions those images aren’t pretty. But I’m guessing, that’s life.


  1. One of the issues I've always had with the derby community is how no one is ever meant to speak ill - even if justified - of anything derby. This weekend might hopefully allow a more open dialogue...


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