Runner's Statue of David shorts spark outrage at Cane2Coral

CHARGES could possibly be laid on a man who chose to wear shorts bearing a picture of the genitals of Michelangelo's famous Statue of David in the recent Cane2Coral fun run.

But the man at the centre of the controversy says: bring on the charge.

Sydney man Ian McNeilly, 62, said he was given the shorts - that are commonly found in souvenir shops across Italy - as a gift from friends about six years ago.

"I've worn them in several City to Surfs (Sydney-based run) but I've never had that reaction," he said.

In the days following the Cane2Coral, many members of the community voiced their outrage at the "inappropriateness" of Mr McNeilly's shorts worn at the family-friendly event.

"I am appalled that the runner in bib 4068, in those obscene shorts, was allowed to run unchallenged," Sally Dyason said in a post on the Cane2Coral Facebook page.

We showed the photo to members of the public and 50% didn’t think it was appropriate and that’s why the NewsMail has chosen not to show it in full.
We showed the photo to members of the public and 50% didn’t think it was appropriate and that’s why the NewsMail has chosen not to show it in full.

"The Cane2Coral is run to be a family friendly fun outing and the committee apologises for any offence that this entrant caused and will attempt to ensure that it does not happen in the future," they said.

But Mr McNeilly, who travelled to Bundaberg to see friends and to compete in the 8km run, said he couldn't understand what the fuss was about.

"They are nothing more than a photo of the genitalia of David," he said.

"If anyone's offended at that they should be offended by the Statue of David.

"Anyone who is old enough to run 8km would be familiar with a person's physical makeup."

Bundaberg Police Senior Sergeant Erwin Hoffmann said the issue would divide the community.

"There is no doubt that this is going to be controversial," he said.

"The issue is not the wearing of the shorts but the event they were worn in."

Snr Sgt Hoffmann said police weren't sure whether Mr McNeilly had committed any offence.

"The questions we want to ask are: would people be upset if teachers wore these at schools? What would you be thinking if you saw this fellow across the road from a bus stop wearing these shorts?" he said.

"It will be investigated, also taking into consideration whether it is in the public's interest to prosecute this matter."

However Mr McNeilly said he would "welcome the charge".

"I'd like to see what the charge is," he said.

"I don't want to give any apology because no one has contacted me directly."

Is it an offensive concept for a pair of shorts?

This poll ended on 11 August 2014.

Yes - 22%

No - 77%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

Topics:  cane2coral editors picks

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