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Kent: Why I’ll never apologise to Anthony Maroon

When McDonald’s sponsored the show for a while I wasn’t allowed to buy a McHappy Meal.Well, settle in, as the next six minutes or so won’t be a part of Happy Hour, either.What has followed Maroon’s walkout two Sundays ago since is a solid distortion of facts where Maroon has somehow emerged as a sympathetic victim of bullying, which suggests a man attacked without the ability to defend himself.Watch every game of Magic Round this weekend Live & Ad-Break Free In Play on Kayo. New to Kayo? Try 14-Days Free Now >Most allegations have come from those who have never listened to the show or who don’t have an understanding of what happens every week, making their accusations naive.Maroon’s fear of the Australian Tax Office, and that he loved cash jobs, was a consistent joke on the show. He has a sideline business hosting corporate functions alongside big name NRL stars.It was a simple joke, not particularly funny, that was driven for no other reason than to elicit a response from him.That was when it got funny, as one of Maroon’s great talents was the gift of being able to blow up while maintaining a laugh in his voice that brought you in on the laugh.He was a funny man.Sunday started normally enough until Maroon read a paid ad for Apricity Finance and Gorden Tallis, noting the irony, quipped that Maroon would “never work for an invoicing firm”.And so it began, with Maroon quickly threatening to out myself, Tallis and James Hooper about our own private lives.At no point was anything in the exchange said to Maroon that had not been said before. He had heard it and dealt with it all before.“Can we get a walkout today, do you reckon?” Hooper asked.“We might get a walkout,” Maroon said.For weeks now we had been joking, off-air, about Maroon doing another walkout.I say another because he walked out at Brookvale Oval five or six years back when he hosted the show with myself, Tallis and Ryan Girdler.Back then he was gone about 45 minutes or so before he returned.Maroon was known for grand gestures. It was part of his routine on the show.He claimed on air in 2020 that if the Gold Coast Titans won five games in a row he would get a sex change.The bet looked safe enough as the Titans had won just four games in total the previous season, but he was stirring the pot because Tallis was a Titans ambassador and had talked up their chances early in the season.Then, wouldn’t you know, the Titans won the last five games of the season to land the bet, but he reneged.Before the first round of the season a year earlier he claimed in an interview on regional radio that if the Roosters beat his Rabbitohs he would stand outside a pub in Port Macquarie in a Roosters cheergirl outfit and sing the Roosters’ team song.The Roosters won, he reneged on the bet.He claimed in 2019 that if Parramatta or Penrith made the top eight he would sing the national anthem at the grand final.The Eels finished fifth and he tried to wriggle his way out of it until then-NRL boss Todd Greenberg organised it so Maroon stood on the field, mic in hand, to sing the anthem.The point is, the grand gestures – like the walkout at Brookvale – were part of what he brought to the show.Within that were the constant sharp insults. It made him popular, the little man fighting back.He called Tallis “Uncle Fester” because of his bald head. He claimed Tallis was too tight to buy a car which is why he kept getting loan cars from Titans’ owner Rebecca Frizelle, and he made it a regular part of the show.He called Aaron Woods “Sharon Woods” and when Woods walked into the studio a few weeks ago after being dropped by the Dragons he told him he heard he had a new position, “Left right out”.Sideline eye Brent Read was “Mr Peabody” because of his thick glasses. Benji Marshall was too big a star to bother returning his calls.Everybody gave as good as they got and Maroon was popular with listeners because he had the sharp tongue, giving it back.Until Maroon, suddenly overly sensitive, took a tired joke and blew it up two Sundays ago.Of course it laboured too long, which has irked some, but as someone that was part of it and had been down this road many times before we believed it was because he was simply driving it to get to the point to justify him walking out once again, making another grand gesture.All part of the show.Since then, though, almost all commentary around it has been of bullying and how we did not let up. The only surprise at the time was that it took so long before he did walk out.Since then, though, the mental health warriors have framed it as a simple case of bullying to justify what is really just a media pile on. We exposed a flank and they attacked.The pile-on for Hooper, both in social and mainstream media, is ten-fold to what Maroon copped yet none of these mental health warriors have considered that, instead taking comfort in being part of the righteous majority.We live in a world of snowflakes, sadly.Maroon is being repositioned as a champion of the cause, even doing a victory dance last Friday when he was congratulated at a function for standing up to us, his persecutors.There once was a time when lunatics on soapboxes in Hyde Park were put in the asylum. They progressed from that to writing on the back of dunny doors.Nowadays they live on Twitter and quickly demand not justice but a win at all costs victory, whatever the collateral damage, and since Sunday they have been tweeting hard, asking where is my apology.Well, that won’t be happening.

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