OPINION

Ole! Ole! Or actually not, as the case may be

Let's talk sports crowd behaviour.

There are different expectations from different sports fans - however unsaid that law of the land may be.

It wasn't Stefanos Tsitsipas' gentle implorings at the Australian Open that captured my attention on this matter most recently, but rather a clever marketing sign at a Big Bash League game.

Running along the boundary fence was a sign that proclaimed: "Quiet please, Only kidding."

Nice marketing, especially considering the BBL is now going head-to-head with the Australian Open on primetime TV for the next 11 days.

Tsitsipas, the great Greek hope of the 2020 men's draw, called for "a little more respect" after Melbourne's large Greek community was out in full force at the Margaret Court Arena on Monday.

They were relentlessly chanting "Ole! Ole! Stefanos Tsitsipas!" - among other things - as the 21-year-old swept aside Italy's Salvatore Caruso in round one.

It was reminiscent of the good ol' days of 2008 when that other red-hot Greek favourite Marcos Baghdatis duelled hometown king Lleyton Hewitt in a noisy five-set thriller that ended at 4.33am.

Such behaviour would be encouraged at BBL which sells itself as a party-packed, four hours of wham-bam entertainment. Grand Slams? Not so much. There's an invisible line.

And there's the crunch - who really knows where the line begins and ends?

The tribalism of team sport breeds different crowd behaviour altogether. Just ask the AFL. The well-documented "crowd issues" of season 2019. The line between barracking and abuse was breached, the AFL determined, when a "fan" leant over the race and unleashed on umpire Matthew Nicholls.

That incident in June 2019 prompted the AFL to state: "While barracking and supporting is both strongly encouraged and a vital part of the game, offensive or aggressive behaviour will not be tolerated... The AFL's zero-tolerance stance on vilification remains."

That's a non-too discreet reference to the very many hideous matters involving the game's indigenous players.

Of course, the footy code is irrelevant. You can easily replace AFL with any number of footy codes - or other sports for that matter.

Society's expectations of behaviour has changed, and rightly so. The problem is one-size does not fit all. Just as in society there are cultures peculiar to individual sports. We need to respect that. But we also need to respect each other. As humans.

Janine Graham is an ACM journalist.